HC Deb 15 January 1990 vol 165 cc3-4
2. Mr. Summerson

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department invested in London Regional Transport for 1989–90.

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Cecil Parkinson)

Government grant to London Regional Transport for 1989–90 is £287 million. That will enable LRT to invest approximately £400 million—a 60 per cent. increase in real terms since 1984 when the GLC had responsibility for funding.

Mr. Summerson

Those are impressive figures. In view of the unprecedented increase in the number of passengers carried by LRT in the past few years, will my right hon. Friend confirm that his Department will make further sums available to LRT, so that it may enhance and improve services to the people of London in the next few years?

Mr. Parkinson

Yes, in our present plans we have announced an investment programme of more than £2.2 billion for the next three years, and we have announced that, as a result of the central London rail study, we shall come to Parliament with proposals for another line in November this year. Therefore, the figure of £2.2 billion excludes the substantial investment that is likely to take place in additional lines. That makes an all-time record of investment for London transport.

Mr. Leighton

Is it not a scandal and a disgrace that, after 10 years of Conservative Government, the situation on the Underground is so bad that fares are being deliberately pushed up by well above the rate of inflation to discourage people from using it, which is pushing more people on to the congested roads? Why does the right hon. Gentleman not invest in cross-rails from north to south, and east to west, and a line from Heathrow, through Paddington and Oxford Circus, to Stratford in the east end of London?

Mr. Parkinson

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the central London rail study made three suggestions. The first was the upgrading of the existing lines—£1.5 billion has been earmarked for that over the next three years. Secondly, it suggested an east-west cross-rail link. Thirdly, it said that a line from Chelsea to Hackney should be considered. As we have already told the House, one of those lines will go ahead, and we shall come forward with proposals in the autumn. We have also pointed out—and if the hon. Gentleman took a little more interest he would know—that we do not believe that London can stand the simultaneous construction of the Jubilee line, the east-west cross-rail and the Chelsea to Hackney line. They might make London a better place in 10 years, but they would make it impossible in the intervening period.