The UK government has put its 40 percent stake in the cross-Channel train operator Eurostar up for sale.
Chancellor George Osborne said he was determined to go on making decisions to reform the British economy and tackle the country’s debts when he announced the decision on Monday.
The sale is part of the government’s plan to raise around 23 billion euros from corporate and financial asset sales by 2020.
“This is just a financial asset, so if we can exchange those shares for good value, it makes perfect sense for the economy to pay down the deficit and use the financial flexibility that gives us to invest in bits of our infrastructure that do need public expenditure behind them,” explained Paul Deighton Commercial Secretary to the UK Treasury.
But the move sparked political debate with Labour’s shadow transport secretary saying a value for money enquiry should be held before the sale.
Interested companies have until the end of the month to notify the Treasury.
The government said it expects to reach ‘definitive agreements’ in the first quarter of 2015.
More than 10 million passengers travelled on Eurostar last year.