Govt to sell 40% Eurostar stake

The Government will announce plans to sell its 40% stake in Eurostar as part of wider plans to privatise £20 billion of assets by 2020. It is to reveal details of its £375bn public and private investments in infrastructure projects across the UK.

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Union boss: Govt is 'flogging off last of the family silver'

Bob Crow, the general secretary of the RMT union, has criticised the Government's decision to sell its stake in Eurostar:

It is typical of this right-wing Government that they are prepared to flog off the valuable public stake in Eurostar just as this expanding and important service is moving into a new period of growth ...

You can bet that the French government will hold on to their stake in Eurostar and may even now bid for a total takeover, using the profits to invest in their own transport services while we flog off the last of the family silver.

– bob crow, general secretary, rmt union

Read: Shape of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement is beginning to emerge

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Govt to fund improvements to A14 instead of toll

Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander has confirmed that the long-planned upgrade to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon will be funded by the Government, rather than a toll.

The A14 provides an important connection to the UK's most important port facilities
The A14 provides an important connection to the UK's most important port facilities Credit: Chris Radburn/PA

Speaking to BBC Breakfast he said there would be "no delay to the delivery of that project," which is due to start in 2016.

Read: Campaigners' concern over A14 funding announcement

Details of Govt infrastructure investment

The Government will today raise the amount it expects to be invested in infrastructure projects in the UK from £309 billion last year to more than £375 billion.

Almost 300 of the 646 projects and programmes are already under construction.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is expected to announce:

  • The building of the UK's first toll road in a decade is to be scrapped. The A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon will not introduce a fee for use after the improvement scheme, due to start in 2016, is completed.
  • The railway station at Gatwick Airport will receive £50 million for redevelopment.
  • A Government guarantee could support finance for the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey.
  • The tube's Northern Line £1 billion extension to Battersea in south west London will be guaranteed.
  • Improvements to the A50 around Uttoxeter in Staffordshire will start no later than 2015/16.
  • A £10 million competitive fund to open in early 2014 to test ways to deliver superfast broadband to remote areas of the UK.

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Govt selling its Eurostar stake in wider asset sell-off

The Government is expected to announce plans to sell its 40% stake in the cross-channel Eurostar as part of a target to raise £20 billion through the privatisation of financial and corporate assets by 2020.

Eurostar
Eurostar is majority owned by French state rail firm, SCNF. Credit: PA

Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the treasury, will announce the Eurostar sale as part of a wider £375 billion investment programme to 2030 and beyond, called the new national infrastructure plan (NIP).

Last month Eurostar revealed it had seen an increase in revenues and passenger numbers compared with last summer.

Sales revenue for the period July-September 2013 reached £207 million - a 10% increase on the same period last year - and passenger numbers in summer 2013 rose 5% to 2.7 million.