HC Deb 14 October 1991 vol 196 cc8-9
7. Ms. Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much he expects to be invested in London Underground Ltd. and London Buses Ltd. during 1991–92.

Mr. Freeman

The level of investment undertaken by London Underground Ltd. and London Buses Ltd. is a matter for London Transport to decide within total funds available. However, I understand that the Underground is planning to invest some £500 million this year and London Buses some £30 million.

Ms. Ruddock

I thank the Minister for his answer. However, does he agree with the Monopolies and Mergers Commission that deficiencies in the level of service are the result of chronic under-investment in both new capacity and the replacement and renewal of existing assets? Is he aware that the chair of London Transport has said that investment must rise to £1.5 billion a year simply to maintain the existing level of service, a service that cannot even run when it rains because stations get flooded? Despite what he said today, will he acknowledge that existing investment programmes are threatened because of lack of money? Can he also confirm that rumours that crossrail will be delayed by two years?

Mr. Freeman

I can confirm that British Rail and London Transport are proceeding firmly on the basis of depositing a Bill for crossrail in the next Session. It is far too early to give a commitment on the start and completion of construction. The grant of £2,500 million to be paid by the Government to London Transport over this and the next two years is double in real terms the grant that was paid in the past three years. The Opposition are not promising one penny more to London Transport over the next three years. Our record on funding London Transport is second to none.

Mr. Evennett

I welcome what my right hon. Friend said about increased investment, but where is that investment being spent, because there is little evidence of where it is being spent?

Mr. Freeman

I could give my hon. Friend one example —one of many—and I should be happy to answer a parliamentary question if he tables one. The refurbishment of the Central line is costing well over £700 million. It will involve the replacement of the rolling stock and resignalling and will lead to an improved service for all passengers.

Mr. Leighton

When the Minister considers investment, will he recall that he wrote to me some time ago telling me that the lavatories on Stratford station in east London would be put in good working order in the summer of 1990? The summer of 1990 has gone, but the lavatories on Stratford station are still not working. How does he justify that to the commuters of east London?

Mr. Freeman

I recently visited Stratford station with the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks). I know that the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) will he interested in the statement that is to follow on the channel tunnel rail link, which will mean big improvements for Stratford. I shall write to the hon. Gentleman about the public toilets.

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