The news that the UK Government plans to sell its stake in Eurostar should not surprise anyone. The records of various Westminster Governments since 1979 when it comes to selling off of state assets leave a great deal to be desired. A few year ago Royal Mail was privatised on the cheap and the public have been left short-changed. It has to be unacceptable that state assets, particularly those which are so vital to infrastructure are being auctioned by a Westminster government that is simply ideologically opposed to state ownership.
This proposal reflects the lop-sided nature of UK economic policy. Increasingly desperate attempts by Westminster governments to balance the books have been based on painful austerity rather than investment and growth. Now they are desperately attempting to fill the hole in public finances by selling-off important assets. This is a short-sighted attempt to make a fast buck at the expense of the future of the UK’s infrastructure and economic prospects.
This process may well end with ‘external nationalisation’ where former UK state assets are owned by foreign governments who pursue their own interests, at our expense leaving UK citizens powerless. There has to be a wider discussion on this particular proposal with the devolved bodies in Wales and Scotland. The Eurostar is an international link, particularly important to our joint participation in the EU and the single market. Businesses here in Wales will be affected in the long-term by the decision to sell-off and there will undoubtedly be an impact on our economy in Wales.