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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Two-pronged attack on Tube plans
London Tube
The future of the Tube remains controversial
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has again criticised the government's plans to introduce a public private partnership (PPP) to reverse the fortunes of the ailing Tube system.


It is attempting to impose an ultra-expensive, inefficient and potentially unsafe transport system on the capital

Ken Livingstone
Appearing at a press conference alongside London's transport supremo, Bob Kiley, he accused ministers of showing "contempt" for the views of Londoners by persisting with its policy.

Mr Livingstone's remarks came as the Conservatives unveiled their plans for the Tube by pledging to introduce a no-strike agreement.

They also backed the idea of handing over control of the Underground to the mayor's transport commissioner Bob Kiley.

Mr Livingstone, who has been granted a judicial review of PPP, described the government's decision to press ahead with the scheme as "a show of contempt for the overwhelming views of London".

"I am amazed that the government should take this step just weeks before the judicial review in June."

But a Department of Transport spokesman said: "We are not rushing the process, it has been continuing while we have been carrying out talks with Mr Kiley and his people.

"We have had nearly 100 meetings with him," he said.

Secrecy

Mr Livingstone also argued that the details of PPP had been "shrouded in secrecy" because ministers feared embarrassment over prohibitive costs and potential safety risks.

"It is attempting to impose an ultra-expensive, inefficient and potentially unsafe transport system on the capital," said Mr Livingstone.

"Under the PPP London would wait 10 years for new trains.

"In New York, Bob Kiley replaced or refurbished virtually the entire fleet of 6,000 cars within the first seven years.


It is time to isolate the few militants who enjoy holding London to ransom for their own political ends

Bernard Jenkin
Shadow transport spokesman Bernard Jenkin set out the Tories plans for the Tube.

He said that under Labour the system had been neglected for four years.

"Londoners have been let down badly by a Labour government and a socialist mayor who are more interested in squabbling and court actions than in delivering a Tube that is fit for the 21st century," he said.

Modernisation

"A Conservative government would make transferring the Tube to Transport for London (TfL) its first priority - ensuring London Underground is run by Londoners, for Londoners."

He said that his party, were they to win the election, would also scrap Labour's plans.

The Tories would introduce a "viable long-term plan for the modernisation" of the Tube.

Their promises include - a world class management team and motivated staff, the highest standards of safety and passenger service and the ability to deliver a sustained programme of investment and renewal.

Transport supremo Bob Kiley
Tories want Mr Kiley to run the Tube
But Mr Jenkin warned that the introduction of a new financial deal for the Tube would depend on the workforce signing a no-strike agreement.

"It is time to isolate the few militants who enjoy holding London to ransom for their own political ends," he said.

The government believes that its plan for the Tube will lead to 13bn being invested in the network, with only 2bn coming from the public coffers.

Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Tom Brake added his voice to those attacking PPP and signalled that Mr Livingstone would be welcome to join the party on the election campaign trail.

"Clearly on the Tube, which is the biggest transport issue in London, there is a big degree of agreement between us," Mr Brake said.

"There is also a degree of agreement about the necessity to stop Conservatives being elected at the general election."

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See also:

08 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Livingstone backs tube safety strike
03 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Courts 'to decide' Tube future
28 Mar 01 | UK Politics
New attack launched in Tube battle
06 Dec 00 | UK Politics
GLA rejects Tube sell-off
02 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Tube deal reached
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