HC Deb 15 July 1999 vol 335 cc299-300W
Mr. Pound

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the funding of London Underground. [91867]

Mr. Prescott

I promised that we would modernise London's Underground for passengers and deliver the funding it needs. I am keeping that promise.

Two years age we inherited an investment backlog of £1.2 billion, a massive cutback in grant, and a badly-planned Jubilee Line Extension draining away funds from the rest of the network.

Last year we announced plans for a Public/Private Partnership to secure the long-term future of the Underground, put in place new management arrangements for the Jubilee Line, and put in an extra £365 million of grant, fully restoring the cuts made by the previous Government.

We are today allocating £517 million of additional resources for investment in London Transport over two years. With the grant already allocated, and with LT's own revenues and investment through PFI deals, this means that we are investing over £1.6 billion on the Underground this year and next. More than £500 million a year will be spent on the core Underground system.

This core investment programme cannot deliver a transformation overnight—years of neglect cannot be quickly overturned. But it does ensure that there will be real improvements for passengers over the next two years. It will deliver the stability of funding the Underground needs until the completion of the PPP contracts, which will give long-term security of investment.

To deliver improved service to customers, the Underground needs investment and effective management. I have made it a condition of providing this additional funding that London Transport improves its performance and uses its resources effectively. We appointed a new Chairman, Sir Malcolm Bates, earlier this year, and we are further strengthening the Board. I shall be monitoring London Transport's performance closely to ensure that they deliver.