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Eurostar at risk of collapse without government aid due to Covid-19 pandemic

Eurostar is "on the brink of collapse" and could go bust within months if it is not given financial aid, the government has been warned.

There are fears that the high-speed rail company, which runs lines through Ashford and Ebbsfleet, could fold as early as April after the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Eurostar could reportedly fold as early as April. Picture: Steve Salter
Eurostar could reportedly fold as early as April. Picture: Steve Salter

There are also concerns that a potential collapse could lead to increased rail fares for Kent residents on the same line to make up for lost funds.

The French company pays each time to use the line from St Pancras in London, through Ashford and across the channel, however a 95% drop in revenue has meant that it is only running two services a day, neither of which stop in Kent.

Concerns were raised among Kent councillors in September that services may never return to the county, after the company stopped running services through its two international stations until 2022.

The cross-Channel rail operator has previously warned that it is 'fighting for survival' being treated unfairly after the aviation sector was given extra assistance in November.

A spokesman told KentOnline: "We are encouraged by the government backed loans that have been awarded to airlines and would once again ask that this kind of support be extended to international high-speed rail which has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Mick Cash says the company is "standing on the brink of collapse"
Mick Cash says the company is "standing on the brink of collapse"

"Without additional funding from government there is a real risk to the survival of Eurostar, the green gateway to Europe, as the current situation is very serious.”

Rail Union RMT also joined calls to protect the vital service, with General Secretary Mick Cash saying that it was "clear" that the company is "standing on the brink of collapse".

He said: "We need urgent Government action to protect the thousands of jobs and vital infrastructure link to the Continent that now hangs by a thread.

"Eurostar has not benefited f‎rom the kind of financial and practical support that has been made available to the airports and ground operations. That needs to be put right as a matter of priority."

Ashford MP Damian Green said that he "shared these worries about the future of Eurostar".

He said: "I have written both to the Chancellor and the Transport Secretary expressing my concerns and asking the UK Government to help.

"I am continuing to work with Eurostar’s management to ensure that their case is put, as clearly Eurostar’s long-term health is very important for Ashford."

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