HC Deb 05 June 1991 vol 192 cc247-8W
Mr. David Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on London Underground Ltd. will be published.

Mr. Lilley

The report is published today. The Commission were asked to conduct a wide ranging inquiry into the efficiency and costs of and the service provided by London Underground Ltd. The Commission recognizes that there are serious constraints on the ability of London Underground to improve efficiency and quality of service. The underground is an old system, which suffers from many years of neglect of its basic infrastructure. The Commission gives due credit to London Underground management for achievements in many areas, notably in the field of safety. However, they conclude that the efficiency with which London Underground uses its present resources still leaves much to be desired.

The report concludes that there is significant scope for improving efficiency and reducing costs, without affecting safety or service standards. The Commission recognises the need for LUL to have a stable investment programme funded partly by the Government and partly by improvements in efficiency but also takes the view that there will have to be an enhanced contribution from real increases in fares. They recognise there has been substantial investment in recent years.

Reflecting the breadth of the inquiry, the Commission has made over 100 recommendations aimed at assisting LUL to improve its performance, giving particular priority collectively to six matters: control of cash against the external financing limit set by the Government management information systems; utilisation of manpower; fares policy and levels; management of investment programme and projects; and renewal and maintenance of the network. In these and other areas, the Commission has set target dates for the implementation of their recommendations.

LUL will be producing a preliminary response to the Commission's findings within three to four months, in the light of which my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will make a statement.