HC Deb 22 April 1998 vol 310 cc611-2W
Mr. Hill

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on developments on London Underground since his statement on 20 March. [39422]

Mr. Prescott

I have decided to restructure the London Transport Board, bringing in a part-time non-executive Chairman. The present Chairman of London Transport (LT), Peter Ford, who is a full-time executive Chairman, has therefore been asked to vacate the chairman's job. Mr. Ford will therefore leave LT today.

I should like to pay tribute to the commitment Peter Ford has shown to London Transport over the past three and a half years. His period as Chairman has seen a marked increase in the number of passengers using the Underground and the London buses, reaching record levels. There has also been a major improvement in the financial performance of both businesses, and of LT as a whole, such that LT now makes a substantial contribution to its investment programme. Peter Ford has been an untiring advocate for London Transport, and his contribution to thinking and debate about the future has been significant. I am grateful to him, and wish him well for the future.

The changes I am making will cover the period during which we will be implementing the London Underground Public Private Partnership which I announced last month, and the run up to the creation of the Greater London Authority. I have concluded that the best arrangement will be to move to a new senior management structure. I shall be announcing new appointments to the LT Board in due course. Mr. Brian Appleton, currently non-executive Vice chairman of the LT board, has agreed to act as Chairman until a permanent appointment can be made.