LondonNet News Headlines
10/10/01
Government Could Drop Tube Privatisation, Says Byers
- Transport Minister hints at climb down on unpopular Underground plans

TRANSPORT MINISTER Stephen Byers gave hope to millions of Londoners today when he said that a final decision on Tube privatisation has not yet been made.

"The [privatisation] deals will not go ahead if they are not judged value for money," Byers said, a clear bit of backtracking when compared to the gung-ho pro-privatisation noises coming from official circles over the past few years.

In another surprise move, Byers also said he would consult with London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Commissioner of Transport for the capital Bob Kiley on the future of the Underground. Both men vehemently oppose the Public Private Partnership scheme previously and have been the subject of Labour Party spin-doctor vilification for their views.

Byers said companies involved in bids for pieces of the Tube would have their proposals considered by January next year.

In a separate move, Livingstone is preparing to go to the High Court for a second time in an attempt to prevent PPP, basing his new case on details in the contracts for private firms that were not in the public domain when his first legal efforts were thrown out.




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