Orders of the Day — European Investment Fund

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:13 pm on 29th November 1993.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Nelson Mr Anthony Nelson , Chichester 10:13 pm, 29th November 1993

The channel tunnel project would be eligible to apply for capital guarantees of the sort that I have mentioned. I understand my hon. Friend's proper concern that the fund might provide guarantees for loans that would effectively finance loss-making activities. The intention is not to subsidise losses, but to guarantee loans that are made available by other institutions.

If a loan is made available to Eurotunnel or one of the other organisations concerned with the project, it is unlikely to be made available specifically to write off an operating loss —although it inevitably forms part of the total capital of the organisation. A loan to that or any other project would be made on the basis of the viability of the project. The fund would enable a guarantee to be provided to the institution providing the loan. Therefore, the position is not quite as my hon. Friend suggested. I hope that he is clear on the point that the fund would not be used in that way, although projects of the sort that he mentioned might be eligible for guarantees of certain loans that had been obtained from other sources.