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Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 3rd June 1998.

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Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 3:31 pm, 3rd June 1998

We have made a judgment about the guarantees involved in raising money, and that is what the market will look at in the circumstances. Those guarantees, we have been assured, are sufficient to guarantee the borrowing requirements and the stability and credibility of this company. It is a unique financial deal, and when the right hon. Gentleman looks at the memorandum, he will see that using bonds and having them supported by Government is probably the strongest credibility possible in these matters.

I am bound to say that it is a lot cheaper than the way in which it was done under the previous Administration. What the company was telling us when I reported back to the House was that, in order to be able to raise the equity on the market to which it was committed—about £1 billion—it wanted another £1.2 billion sweetener as to attract the market to put in equity. I am not doing that, because it is too expensive. I have found a better way, which is better for the taxpayer.