LondonNet News Headlines
21/02/01
Blair Joins Tube Battle
- PM in talks over future of privatisation

TUBE chief Bob Kiley looks to have drawn Prime Minister Tony Blair into the row over the future of London Underground after his weekend comments that chancellor Gordon Brown was a "Wizard of Oz" figure.

Blair, concerned that the issue might still be alive come the general election, is set to meet both Brown and Transport Minister John Prescott today in a bid to sort things out. Brown is thought to be clinging on to the discredited Public Private Partnership scheme that would effectively hand the Underground over the private sector, while Kiley and Livingstone want public authorities to have ultimate management control, even if private money is used.

Kiley and London Mayor Mayor blame Brown for the impasse, saying the Chancellor has acted in bad faith during negotiations over the Tube's future, vetoing every concession made by Prescott.

"The Government believed that the more we learned about the PPP the more comfortable we would become with it," Kiley said. "In fact, the opposite has occurred. The more we learned, the more convinced we have become that the PPP is unworkable, potentially dangerous and prohibitively expensive."




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