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Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 21:01 GMT
Brown attacks Livingstone's tube plans

The financing of the tube is a key issues in the mayoral race


Chancellor Gordon Brown has criticised Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone's plans to modernise London Underground.

Mr Brown said Mr Livingstone's proposals to finance the tube through a bond issue could even compromise passenger safety.

London Mayor
Mr Livingstone is one of three candidates seeking to be selected as Labour's candidate to contest the election for mayor of London.

He has been outspoken in his opposition to the government's plans for a public-private partnership for the underground.

Giving evidence to the Commons Treasury Select Committee, Mr Brown said that issuing bonds would cost 3bn more than the government's proposals.

The chancellor also warned that Mr Livingstone's plans to freeze fares would cut off a vital source of funds for investment, which could in turn affect safety on the tube.

Mr Brown said: "People would be worse off, the investment would not take place and the Underground would be less safe as a result of that."


Ken Livingstone supports a bond issue for the tube
The financing of Mr Livingstone's proposals was "very, very questionable indeed and just doesn't add up", he continued.

Mr Brown said borrowing under the proposed bond scheme would be at a higher rate of interest than would be possible with a public-private partnership.

It would cost each family in London 1,000, he told the committee.

The chancellor warned if anything went wrong with the bond scheme the underground could even revert to the private sector as investors would demand security for their investments.

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