Examination of witnesses (Question Numbers
TUESDAY 1 MAY
160. Are there any dates set?
(Sir Alastair Morton) No. The next thing that will
happen, that has already happened, is that there will be talks
with the PTEs collectively and separately, led by Mr Grant, which
will establish that we are all trying to achieve the same thing
or we are not. If we are not, delay. If we are, go ahead. Go ahead
consists of launching an invitation to the private sector to tender
for that franchise and specifying what the core proposition of
the franchise is and inviting tenders for optional extras if that
is what they want, aspirations we call them. Those will come in
after a period of weeks stretching into a few months, because
that is the time they need to prepare them with a suitable level
of expert advice.
161. I understand the bids are in, they have
submitted all the details?
(Sir Alastair Morton) Not for the new northern franchise,
we have not invited tenders. Then we will get to a shortlist and
then we will get to a preferred bidder, at which point Ministers
have to be satisfied as to what the prospects facing us with that
preferred bidder are before we announce it. That is the problem
with the East Coast. We get the preferred bidder announced and
we then negotiate with the preferred bidder the process that is
now happening with Chiltern, which takes time because it is very,
very serious money.
162. When you talk about the northern area,
are you talking about the Yorkshire region?
(Sir Alastair Morton) Yes. The northern franchise
carries from East Coast to West Coast.
163. There have been no submissions so far?
(Sir Alastair Morton) There has not yet been an invitation
164. Sir Alastair, when are you going to publish
(Sir Alastair Morton) In November.
165. This year?
(Sir Alastair Morton) Yes.
(Sir Alastair Morton) Subject to the fact that we
are not allowed by the law that you passed in this House to publish
it without the consent of the Secretary of State.
167. So we are back to the Secretary of State,
but you have such a good relationship, Sir Alastair, that I know
we can expect a rapid response.
(Sir Alastair Morton) I think the Secretary of State
is in the habit of consulting the Treasury before he gives such
168. You have such excellent relationships both
with the Secretary of State and with the Treasury that you can
expect a rapid response.
(Sir Alastair Morton) I think you should ask the Treasury
about my relationship with them before we make such assumptions.
Chairman: Perhaps we should do that. Thank you