Britain to sell Eurostar stake under GBP10 billion privatization program
Britain will sell its stake in cross-channel rail operator Eurostar under a new GBP10 billion privatization program, according to a report published by The Guardian.
Danny Alexander, the Treasury's chief secretary, will make an announcement on Wednesday about the coalition's disposal of state assets. Alexander will announce that the Treasury has doubled its target for the asset sale to GBP20 billion over the next six years, the report said.
The Guardian wrote that the Treasury could potentially net hundreds of millions of pounds in the sale of UK's 40% stake in Eurostar.
The surprise announcement comes just weeks after ministers were lambasted for allowing Eurostar to bid for East Coast mainline. Concerns abound about private versus public ownership of the railways and conflict of interest. In addition, rising fares and poor performance of various franchises have been added to the concerns, the report stated.
Ministers are trying to sell of a series of assets owned by taxpayers. The strategic move is designed to help pay down the debt of the UK. Unions could fiercely oppose further privatizations. The said groups have threatened a strike action over the sell-off of the Royal Mail, The Guardian reported.