LondonNet News Headlines
12/12/01
Ken Can Keep the Tube in Return for the Roads
- Secret deal has Underground staying in public sector while congestion-charging faces the chop

KEN LIVINGSTONE could keep control of the Tube if he abandons plans to introduce road-pricing to central London.

Rumours circulating in government corridors suggest the London Mayor is ready to strike a deal with his erstwhile enemies in the Transport Department that would see London Underground remain wholly in the public sector under Mayoral control, while congestion-charging would be shelved.

Transport Secretary Stephen Byers has recently hinted that he might stop in its tracks the Public Private Partnership for the Tube that is so unpopular in London, if it can be shown that PPP is a more expensive option than keeping the Underground network in public hands.

But insiders believe Byers will want a price to be paid by Livingstone for the climbdown and that price is likely to be congestion-charging, one of the Mayor's central planks in his transport strategy.

While Livingstone still believes in road-pricing, he is likely to take the deal as control of the Tube is seen as higher in importance and congestion-charging itself has run into a welter of logistical problems.




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