As the cross-channel train operator Eurostar struggles to survive, pressure is mounting on the UK and French governments to accept financial assistance.
The company agreed to continue late last year COVID-19 The crisis forced it to reduce four trains from more than 50 a day 95% of its revenue.
It appealed to the UK government for help at the time, arguing that it was being treated unfairly as airports received tax relief to cope with the fall in demand for overseas travel.
SNCF, the French state-owned railway company that owns the majority of Eurostar, is increasingly expressing its need for French taxpayers’ assistance.
The lifeline issue was complicated in 2015 when the UK government sold its stake to the Anglo-Canadian Federation.
The campaign for financial assistance in the UK has accelerated this week, with a letter sent to the Treasury and the Department of Transport (DFT) in support of businesses, urging them not to threaten the UK’s economic recovery and the post – Brexit future by allowing Eurostar to “fall between the cracks of support”.
While arguing that the cross-channel train operator plays a key role in implementing low-carbon international travel, Tory MP, who chairs the Transport Selection Committee, said:
He said: “We cannot afford to lose Eurostar to this epidemic. The company contributes $ 800 million to the UK economy every year.”
Mr Merriman urged the British and French governments to act.
The DFT said it was “working extensively with Eurostar on a regular basis”.
Professor Yves Croset, a French transport economist, told the group: “I think the French government will support Eurostar, but not alone.
“We will probably have a wrestling match between England and France.
“But Eurostar is clearly a subsidiary of SNCF, and SNCF holds the bulk of the capital.