Delay privatisation plans, ports urge
Dover will not take plunge until impact of Channel Tunnel is clear, reports Trevor Webster
Sunday 20 August 1995
Both Dover and Ipswich are insisting that their privatisations should be delayed for at least two years and there is a chance that Tyne will take the same view when its board meets over the next week.
In two years' time Britain could have a Labour government with no ambition to pursue privatisation. Former transport secretary Brian Mawhinney unveiled plans for the privatisations in mid-June and gave the trio of "trust ports" (independent authorities established under local legislation) until 4 September to respond.
None has made its final submission, but Dover has already made it clear in an "interim bulletin" that far more time is needed to assess the impact of the Channel Tunnel on its business.
Dover stresses in the document that it is not opposed to privatisation in principle - "so long as it is in the interests of the port and its customers". But it adds: "Uncertainty over the Channel Tunnel means that the future is at present extraordinarily unpredictable."
It believes it needs two summers to see the full impact of the tunnel and to value its business properly. It points out that it should have had the information by now had the tunnel project not been delayed for two years.
Dover is far and away the most valuable of the three ports. But at present valuations of its port business are very imprecise - ranging from pounds 50m to pounds 150m. There is a risk that the Government would be charged once again with selling off the family silver too cheaply if it rushed ahead with privatisation.
Ipswich would also like a delay of two years in the privatisation process, although it too says it does not oppose the idea on principle. It is a much smaller port and suffered a heavy loss when P&O scrapped a ferry service recently, cutting its income by a third. It wants a chance to recover from the blow, which may have reduced its value from around pounds 12m to pounds 8m, and to launch a joint pounds 30m terminal venture with Dutch partners.
Tyne is playing its cards close to its chest until its board meets shortly, but one analyst pointed out that it did not privatise voluntarily when it had a chance four years ago. Its value is believed to be around pounds 40m.
The Department of Transport is refusing to comment until the consultation process ends in early September. The new transport minister, Sir George Young, is regarded as less of a doctrinaire Tory than his predecessor, Mr Mawhinney.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Isis in Kobani: US resupplies Kurdish fighters by plane - then Turkey allows reinforcements through its border
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
iJobs Money & Business
£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...
£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...
£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...