Pressure mounts on UK and France to agree on financial aid for Eurostar as it fights for survival

The Eurostar operator is currently running just two services out of London and two back on a daily basis because of COVID-19. The cross-Channel trains fight for survival. Sky News report

The company admitted late last year that the continuing COVID-19 crisis, which has forced it to slash services from a normal level of more than 50 trains a day to just four, had taken a 95% toll on its revenues.

It appealed at the time for UK government aid, arguing that it was being treated unfairly as airports had secured tax relief to help them cope with the collapse in demand for overseas travel.

Eurostar is majority-owned by the French state rail firm SNCF – potentially leaving the French taxpayer most exposed to its needs for aid.

The lifeline issue is complicated by the fact that the UK government sold its stake to an Anglo-Canadian consortium in 2015.

A campaign for financial aid gathered pace in the UK this week when a letter, backed by businesses, was sent to the Treasury and Department for Transport (DfT) urging them not to threaten the UK’s economic recovery and post-Brexit future by letting Eurostar “fall between the cracks of support”.

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