Politics: Rail link gets new deadline

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The Independent Online
JOHN PRESCOTT last night gave the consortium contracted to build the pounds 6bn high-speed rail link to the Channel Tunnel a further month to rescue the scheme from collapse.

It is believed the consortium is seeking more financial aid from the European Investment Bank on the grounds that the link is a vital part of the European strategic rail network.

The deputy Prime Minister was furious last month when he was faced with a demand by London and Continental Railways for a government bail-out of an extra pounds 1.2bn. Refusing to commit any more taxpayers' money, he gave LCR 30 days to come up with a rescue package, but with the deadline due to end today, Mr Prescott announced he would allow the company until 31 March come up with the finance and propose plans for completing the 68-mile link.

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