The Government arrived at a decision to sell the stake of the taxpayers in Eurostar for an amount of £757million aimed at further augmenting privatization, and reducing vast national debt of Britain. George Osborne, Chancellor and Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, are scheduled to declare the sell-off of the high-speed rail operator that connects London with Paris for an amount double the expected sum.
Three countries presently own the Eurostar; Britain with 40% has been the second largest stakeholder preceded by French rail operator SNCF’s 55%. Belgium’s SNCB held the remaining 5%. In view of the Chancellor, it is a fantastic deal for the taxpayers of the country as it exceeds expectations. He added that getting the best value of money for the taxpayer, investing in the infrastructure that was best in quality, and tackling of the country’s debts were the key elements of the country’s long term economic plan. The present agreement, he added, addressed all these three aspects. Government sources added that the amount to be collected significantly exceeded expectations in comparison to the rail link operator put to sale last October. Two institutional investors, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and Hermes Infrastructure have agreed in consortium to acquire the 40% stake of the British Government for £585.1million.Eurostar has further agreed for the redemption of the preference share of the government, and it would fetch another £172 million for the national exchequer.
The decision, however, has invited scathing criticism from various economic and political personalities. The leader of the TSSA rail union, Manuel Cortes, has said that George Osbone believed in outdated Thatcherism, and has been selling prize possession for short-term financial gain. Leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union has termed the deal just before May election as pure Thatcherism which has made Britain the laughing stock in the whole of Europe.