HC Deb 27 November 1995 vol 267 cc916-7
9. Mrs. Bridget Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his estimate of the financial benefits to business of London's public transport system. [651]

Sir George Young

London's public transport system brings great benefits to both business and individuals, as was confirmed in the independent Healy and Baker 1995 report on Europe's top cities, in which London came first in terms of both international and external transport.

Mrs. Prentice

Given that the direct benefit of the London underground network to London is some £1.2 billion and to the economy as a whole is some £2 billion, why are the Government cutting London Transport's grant by about 32 per cent. in the next three years? Was the Secretary of State's warning, that London Underground's core funding will be threatened in tomorrow's Budget, true?

Sir George Young

The hon. Lady will have to wait until tomorrow to see what my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor has to say. Investment in London Underground in the past three years has been higher than at any time in the previous two decades. That puts a slightly different gloss on the picture painted by the hon. Lady.

Mr. Dykes

May I once again welcome the construction of the Jubilee line extension, which will take the route from docklands to the terminus in my constituency? There is already an excellent service on that line, with trains running at a maximum of every seven minutes during the daytime. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the number of jobs created originally by that massive scheme—opened by my hon. Friend the Minister for Transport in London—has increased at the margins since then? Many business people use the service now, and an increasing number will use it in the future. Will my right hon. Friend press for additional new rolling stock for the Metropolitan line for similar purposes? I have no Nolan interest to declare.

Sir George Young

I welcome what my hon. Friend has just said. The substantial sum of money invested in the Jubilee line is an example of our commitment to investing in London, and that has been aided by some private finance initiatives for the Isle of Dogs. I shall raise the second part of my hon. Friend's question with London Transport. The securing of additional stock for the Northern line, which will come on-stream early next year, is another private finance initiative, and I am anxious to pursue other private finance initiatives with London Transport as fast as I can.

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