Rail sale 'will not raise fares'

RAIL FARES will not go up as a result of privatisation, Steven Norris, the transport minister, claimed yesterday. He was underlining the Government's determination to press on with sell-off plans despite the suspicion among opponents that ministers are now so fearful of a Commons defeat that they are preparing to defer - if not abandon - the plans.

Mr Norris told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the Government would oppose - and defeat - the House of Lords amendment allowing British Rail to compete for franchises. He denied that privatisation would mean a worse service.