§ 16. Mr. Tony Banks
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects that work will be completed on the Jubilee line extension.
§ Mr. Norris
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will authorise the start of construction once negotiations between London Transport and the parties involved with the financing of Canary Wharf on the basis of their contribution to the Jubilee line extension have been satisfactorily concluded. It is planned that the line will be operational 53 months after the start of construction.
§ Dr. Spink
Will my hon. Friend confirm the Government's commitment to the scheme and urge all the parties involved to reach agreement on the funding package so that the start can be brought forward to the earliest possible date, for the obvious economic benefit of docklands and of my constituents, who hope to be involved in the line's construction?
§ Mr. Norris
Yes, I can confirm that the Government are fully committed to their contribution, once negotiations with the private sector on its contribution are complete.
§ Mr. Banks
It is not much use the Minister saying when he thinks that the line will be finished when he cannot even tell us when he thinks that work on it will start. We have been waiting for that for ages and ages. It is about time that the Minister got his finger out and gave a date for the actual start.
Is the Minister aware that there is a phrase for people who always tempt but never get around to delivering? They are called political teasers. The Minister should stop dangling the prospect in front of us and tell us when work on the Jubilee line extension will start.
§ Mr. Norris
That is yet another inviting prospect from the hon. Gentleman, but in all seriousness he knows the answer to the questions that he poses. The Government have clearly stated that the private sector should contribute a substantial amount of money towards that line because of the considerable value that is conveyed by it to those property owners who are contributing. I think that the whole House will accept that that means that about£400 million, which is to go into the scheme, is coming from those who will benefit as developers of property rather than from hard-pressed taxpayers.
650 It seems to me that the hon. Gentleman is inviting us to forget that and simply to say that the Government will find the entire contribution. That is lamentable. No Government can act so irresponsibly. These negotiations have taken time, but I trust that they will be satisfactorily concluded. When they are, the Government are committed to making their contribution, to ensure that the line can be constructed.