Government announces Eurostar sell-off
So Osborne is selling more of the family silver in seeking to raise £300m from the sale of a 40% stake in Eurostar. This is our only rail link to the continent and the rest of Europe. It is unregulated and can charge what it likes, drastically cut its services, let its trains fall to bits ,and there will be nothing that our Government can do about it once it is sold. Of course the buyer of the UK share will say that they will enhance the service and frequency; they would! But what will stop the new buyer selling their share on to others, who may have different plans?
The French Government, with 50% share, can of course react, but France does not need Eurostar in the same way that the UK does. For us, it links to the rest of Europe; for France, just a branch line to the UK.
So this will make a 1% contribution to reducing our national debt and cause a potential but unquantifiable extra cost to UK business and leisure interests.
And the likelihood of a competitor starting remains remote, whilst our security and immigration people insist on retaining ‘Fortress Britain’, unless DB buys Eurostar as being the easiest way to get to London, and ensuring that there will never be any competition in that market.
But then our Government likes competition!