Transport Committee Press Notice

ESTIMATES DAY DEBATE

The Transport Committee's report on The London Underground and the Public-Private Partnership Agreements is to be debated in the chamber of the House of Commons.

The Chairman of the Liaison Committee has agreed to an Estimates Day debate on the report. This will be on Monday 10 March at around 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm.

Commenting on the decision, Chairman of the Transport Committee the Hon Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody said: "Our Report highlighted the spectacular failure of Metronet which has put the future of most of London Underground's upgrade and maintenance work in doubt. The taxpayer is now being asked to step in and foot the bill for the private sector's inefficiency and failure. The House of Commons is being asked to authorise the extra expenditure and I am pleased that the House will have an opportunity to consider the Committee's analysis of the Metronet debacle."

The Committee's Report, published on 25 January 2008, looked at the collapse of Metronet, one of two private sector consortia that had signed three 30-year contracts to renovate and modernise the London Underground network.

The Committee found much of the blame lay with the Government, which imposed the PPP on Transport for London. The circumstances of Metronet's end have shown that the private sector will never wittingly expose itself to substantial risk without ensuring that it is proportionately, if not generously, rewarded. It is ultimately the taxpayer who pays the price.

The Committee was not able to get an estimate of the total cost of Metronet's collapse but the Government has recently announced that £1.7 billion will be required to pay off Metronet's debts. Transport for London has also been funding an operating deficit of around £13 million a week since the company's demise.

A full copy of the report is available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmtran/45/45.pdf

SCA 20/2007-08 28 February 2008