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Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent in public money in each year since 1993 on the tendering costs for design, build, finance and operate roads projects, broken down by (a) consultants' and (b) other costs. [5756]

Mr. Watts: I have asked the chief executive of the Highways Agency to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Andrew Smith, dated 27 November 1996:


National Bus Company Pension Trustees Ltd.

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will reply to the National Bus Company Pension Trustees Ltd. on the matter of the recent determination by the pensions ombudsman. [6716]

Sir George Young: Following the determination by the pensions ombudsman on a complaint against the trustees of the Bus Employees Superannuation Trust--BEST--one of the pension funds of the former National Bus Company, the NBC pension trustees wrote to me on

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20 September asking for my proposals for repayment by my Department of the surplus of the fund paid to it in 1990 or, if the Department were not prepared to repay the surplus, for financial resources to enable the trustees to seek its recovery through the courts. The pensions ombudsman had ruled that the trustees should take all practicable steps to obtain the return of the moneys from the pension fund received by the Department of Transport on behalf of the National Bus Company. His determination was, however, directed to the trustees, and makes it clear that he has not carried out an investigation, or made a determination, with respect to the National Bus Company, or to my Department.

I have obtained legal advice on the points raised in the trustees' letter. I have considered carefully the background to the events with which the determination is concerned and the legal advice which I have now obtained. It is clear that those involved in the decisions at the time--the trustees, the National Bus Company and the Government--were satisfied, after taking legal and expert advice and after lengthy consideration of the options available, that the agreement reached in 1986 represented a reasonable and balanced solution to the difficult and contentious problem of how to secure, in advance of the company's privatisation, the accrued pension benefits of NBC employees. The arrangements provided the necessary protection for members' accrued benefits, and involved a Government undertaking that funds would be made available to cover any deficiency in the pension fund at wind-up, in return for a change in the fund's rules which provided for any surplus in the fund to be paid to the NBC. There was no certainty at that time whether the fund would be in deficit or surplus at the date of wind-up.

The amount at issue in this matter is substantial, and payment of such a sum would raise serious accounting issues. My Department has been advised that it has good grounds to put these matters before the courts. The Department's accounting officer would need to show conclusive reasons for making the payment and a determination as to its amount. I have therefore concluded that, if the trustees wish to pursue their claim, they must do so through the courts. If a legal action were commenced by the trustees, both parties could present all relevant evidence and legal arguments and the court could make a definitive ruling which would be binding both on the Department and on the trustees.

I have therefore today written to the NBC Pension Trustees Ltd. to say that, if it is minded to commence a legal action against my Department in the High Court, my Department would be prepared to meet its legal costs, given that it has no resources of its own to pursue litigation. I hope that any litigation could be carried out in as co-operative and speedy a manner as possible. A copy of my letter has been placed in the Library.

Finally, I should make it clear that the pensions ombudsman's determination and my announcement today address only the BEST pension fund which covered the majority of the NBC's employees. Management staff were covered by a separate pension fund, the National Bus pension fund. I understand that the NBPF is the subject of a separate complaint to the pensions ombudman which he is still considering.

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Rail Privatisation

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the names of purchasers, prices paid and dates of sale for those companies previously owned by British Rail which have been sold, pursuant to the Railways Act 1993. [6885]

Mr. Watts: The table summarises sales of those companies previously owned by British Rail which have been sold pursuant to the Railways Act 1993. The table updates all sales announced previously. Where appropriate, gross proceeds are subject to post- completion adjustments.

In addition, the sale of Railtrack plc will realise gross proceeds of £1.93 billion. Including this, and dividends of some £800 million and £50 million paid before the sales of the rolling stock leasing companies and the BR infrastructure service companies respectively, total gross proceeds are £5.28 billion.

CompanyPurchaserGross proceeds £ millionSale date
BR Infrastructure Services Design Offices
DCU Birmingham Ltd.Owen Williams Railways Ltd. (a subsidiary of Owen Williams Consulting Engineers)1.025 July 1995
IDG Glasgow Ltd.Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick (a subsidiary of SWK Holdings) 0.618 August 1995
Mainline Swindon Ltd.Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick (a subsidiary of SWK Holdings) 0.618 August 1995
BPE Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Consultancy Ltd.James Scott BPE (a subsidiary of AMEC Group plc)*0.2415 September 1995
Civil Engineering Design Group, York Ltd.British Steel plc*2.915 September 1995
CEDAC LondonW S Atkins Ltd.3.615 December 1995
Powertrack Engineering Co. LtdW S Atkins 3.615 December 1995
BR Infrastructure Service Companies
Scotland Track Renewals Co. Ltd.Relayfast Ltd. (MBO funded by Hambro European Ventures Ltd.)*10.78 February 1996
Scotland Infrastructure Maintenance Co. Ltd.TrackAction Ltd. (MBO)*27.514 February 1996
Central Track Renewals Co. Ltd.Tarmac Construction Ltd.*2.929 February 1996
Western Infrastructure Maintenance Co. Ltd.Amey Railways Ltd. (MBO)*157 March 1996 (exchanged) 25 March 1996 (completed)
Eastern Track Renewals Co. Ltd.Fastline Rail Services Ltd.*1115 March 1996
Eastern Infrastructure Maintenance Co. Ltd.Balfour Beatty Ltd.(16)*29.72 April 1996
South East Infrastructure Maintenance Co. LtdBroomco (919) Ltd. (an MBO/Balfour Beatty joint venture) *20.3 2 April 1996
Southern Track Renewals Co. Ltd.Balfour Beatty Ltd. *20.32 April 1996
South West Infrastructure Maintenance Co. Ltd.AMEC plc*1118 April 1996
Central Infrastructure Maintenance Co. Ltd.GT. Railway Maintenance Ltd. (a joint venture between GEC Alsthom Ltd. and Tarmac Construction Ltd.)*18.87 March 1996 (exchanged) 19 April 1996 (completed)
Northern Infrastructure Maintenance Co. Ltd.Jarvis plc(17)*921 May 1996 (exchanged) 18 June 1996 (completed)
Northern Track Renewals Co. Ltd.Fastline Group Ltd.*4.623 May 1996
Western Track Renewals Co. Ltd.Relayfast Ltd.*8.523 July 1996
BR Maintenance Ltd.
Swindon Electronics Service Centre Ltd. ABB Customer Support Services Ltd. *19.4613 April 1995
Chart Leacon Rail Maintenance Ltd.ABB Customer Support Services Ltd. *19.465 June 1995
Doncaster Rail Maintenance Ltd.ABB Customer Support Services Ltd. *19.465 June 1995
Ilford Rail Maintenance Ltd.ABB Customer Support Services Ltd. *19.465 June 1995
Glasgow Rail Maintenance Ltd.Railcare (a joint venture of Babcock International Group plc and Siemens plc) *5.76 June 1995
Wolverton Rail Maintenance Ltd.Railcare (a joint venture of Babcock International Group plc and Siemens plc) 6 June 1995
Eastleigh Rail Maintenance Ltd.Wessex Traincare Ltd. (MBO)*7.157 June 1995
BR Central Services
Meldon Quarry Ltd.ECC Construction Materials Ltd.4.5February 1994
Special Trains UnitWaterman Railways1.2531 March 1995
Baileyfield Switch and Crossings WorksVAE Baileyfield Ltd., (a subsidiary of VAE Aktiengesellschaft of Vienna)*1.137 July 1995
Ditton Timber Treatment WorksPTG Holdings (a subsidiary of The Phoenix Timber Group plc)*0.471 September 1995
Quality and Safety Services Ltd.Ingleby (805) Ltd. (MBO)0.3210 November 1995
Railways Occupational Health Ltd.Occupational Health Care plc0.730 November 1995
Signalling Control UK Ltd.Westinghouse Brake and Signal Holdings Ltd. (a subsidiary of BTR)39.51 December 1995
Interlogic Control Engineering Ltd.ABB Daimler-Benz Transportation (Signal) Ltd.17.54 January 1996
Castleton (Long Welded Rail and Track) WorksBritish Steel plc0.215 March 1996
The engineering link Ltd.MBO1.019 March 1996
Interfleet Technology Ltd.Broomco (909) Ltd. (MBO)0.6922 March 1996
College of Railway Technology Ltd.Advicepart Ltd. (MBO)0.629 March 1996
Network Train Engineering Services Ltd.W S Atkins (Consultants) Ltd.0.81 April 1996
BR Projects Ltd.Addspice Ltd. (MBO)1.2526 June 1996
BR Freight and Parcels
Red Star Parcels Ltd.MBO(18)05 September 1995
Rail express systems Ltd.North and South Railways (consortium led by Wisconsin Central Ltd.) but now forms part of English, Welsh and Scottish Railway24.29 December 1995
Transrail Freight Ltd.North and South Railways (consortium led by Wisconsin Central Ltd.) but now forms part of English, Welsh and Scottish Railway 225.1524 February 1996
Mainline Freight Ltd.North and South Railways (consortium led by Wisconsin Central Ltd.) but now forms part of English, Welsh and Scottish Railway 225.1524 February 1996
Loadhaul Ltd.North and South Railways (consortium led by Wisconsin Central Ltd.) but now forms part of English, Welsh and Scottish Railway 225.1524 February 1996
Freightliner (1995) Ltd.MBO now known as Freightliners Ltd.5.3925 May 1996
Rolling Stock Leasing Companies
Porterbrook Leasing Co. Ltd.Consortium led by management team with funds managed by Charterhouse Development Capital*5288 January 1996
Angel Train Contracts Ltd.GRS Holdings (including Prideaux and Associates, Babcock and Brown, and Nomura International)*69617 January 1996
Eversholt Leasing Ltd.Eversholt Holdings, a consortium led by Candover Partners Ltd. together with the management team, and including Electra Fleming Ltd. and the Royal Bank of Scotland(19)*5982 February 1996
Other companies
OBS Services Ltd.European Rail Catering Company Ltd. (MBO)*11.153 October 1995
British Rail Telecommunications plcRacal Electronics plc*132.7521 December 1995

(16) This figure includes deferred amounts.

(17) This figure includes deferred amounts.

(18) £2.25 million was made available to the purchaser to reflect movements in the value of fixed assets, reduced gross profits and other changes from the basis of his final bid.

(19) Includes £80 million deferred consideration in respect of Networker vehicles.

Details of the sales marked with an "*" have been previously announced.


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