Rumours grow that Whitehall is trying to back out of Tube PPP gracefully

13 Dec 01
Officials this week denied that a private meeting between Transport Secretary Stephen Byers and London Mayor Ken Livingstone heralded an imminent U-turn by the government on the Tube's public-private partnership.

14 December 2001

Officials said no new deal was on the table at the meeting on December 12. Bob Kiley, the transport commissioner for London, did not attend the meeting but transport was on the agenda, said one source.

Despite the denials, rumours that a deal between Westminster and Livingstone is imminent continue to circulate. In January, a government-commissioned report, carried out by Ernst & Young, examining whether or not PPP provides value for money, will be published. PPP conspiracy theorists believe this is the best chance for the government to back down from the controversial scheme.

If the study proves financing of the Tube can be carried out in another, more efficient way, ministers could avoid expensive compensation payments to the private sector.

Professor Stephen Glaister, a Transport for London board member, said ministers were looking for a way out. 'I think it's highly likely that the government wants a resolution to what's a very difficult problem,' he said.


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