Railway debt kept off government books
The Treasury has been able to keep railway debt off the government books by delaying the publication of an accountancy framework.
Link: Pre-Budget special
The framework increases the transparency of decision-making and would include the debts of Network Rail on the government’s books for the first time.
It was not announced by Gordon Brown in his pre-Budget speech but indulged in his report, which accompanied the speech.
Between 2000 and 2009, Network Rail is projected to cost some £17bn pounds.
If this would have been included like other government borrowing it would have wiped out the remaining leeway the chancellor has to meet his ‘golden rule’ on public finances.
He told parliament last week that he had a £14bn margin of error over the golden rule.