Chris Grayling met representatives of a dozen banks and funds to discuss how they could make private profit from public transport.
The latest government transparency returns show the Transport Secretary held a meeting with companies to discuss “private investment in transport infrastructure” in February.
Two thirds of the firms were foreign-owned and many had been involved in previous privatisations of British assets or expensive PFI deals:
Hermes were one half of the group that bought Britain’s share in Eurostar for the knock down price of £750 million – branded “pure Thatcherite industrial vandalism” by the RMT union.
They and CPPIB – the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board – bought 30% of Britain’s port operator, Associated British Ports, in 2015.
Canadian pension funds now own so much British infrastructure, including High Speed One, that the Telegraph ran a profile of them headlined: “The Canadian pensioners who own Britain.”
British firm Infracapital and the famous French Rothschilds bank were both linked to the Tories last attempt to re-privatise Network Rail.
The other companies at the meeting include two Chinese banks, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, a US private equity firm, two firms specialising in PFI deals, and a British pension fund.
Scrapbook’s industry source suggests it could be connected to Network Rail – Grayling launched a fresh bid to privatise the body in December.
Big business representatives were said to be “salivating” over the prospect of getting their hands on Network Rail at a meeting with his predecessor, Patrick McLoughlin.
Whatever Grayling’s trying to flog, one thing is for sure: Something’s always for sale under the Tories…