Network Rail reclassified as public body

17 December 2013 Network Rail will next year become a fully public sector body, following a reclassification by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The rail infrastructure owner and operator has always been considered a private sector entity, meaning its liabilities have remained off the public sector debt.

However, the ONS has now reclassified it as a central government body in the public sector, meaning that from 1 September 2014 its debt, which currently stands at £30bn, will be on the government’s books.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told Parliament that he expects the change in Network Rail’s accounting treatment will result in an increase in public sector net debt by about 2% of GDP.

However, he insisted that the announcement would not have an impact on the government’s spending plans.

“The ONS’s decision on the classification of Network Rail does not affect the planned improvement and investment in the railways, including Network Rail’s £38bn settlement for the planned running of and investment in the railway in the five years from 2014,” he said.

This page was last updated on:
26 April 2015.

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