The Government is to boost the prospects for the privatisation of Railtrack, the company which owns the railway infrastructure, by cutting the rate of return which the Treasury expects it to make on its operations. Brian Mawhinney, the Transport S ecretary, will announce that the rate of return will be reduced from 8 per cent, ministerial sources confirmed last night.
Michael Meacher, shadow Transport Secretary, said: "This is the first of many attempts to sweeten the franchises. The next one will be next Monday when the rail regulator lays down minimum standards of service. It shows Dr Mawhinney's great anxiety and perhaps desperation about getting interest for the franchises."
Prescott backtracks, page 6