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Banks have too much say in Tube decisions - Kiley

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BANKS LENDING cash to London Underground (LUL) upgrade contractors have been given powers to influence project decisions, Transport for London's transport commissioner Bob Kiley has claimed.

In a letter to London Underground chair Malcolm Bates last week, Kiley claimed that the final contracts for the public private partnership (PPP) upgrade will allow banks to help consortium Tubelines choose subcontractors, shape the construction programme and influence dispute settlement.

The Tubelines consortium of Jarvis, Amey and Bechtel-Halcrow is preferred bidder for the privately financed upgrade of the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Kiley says in the letter: 'A 62 page 'Controls Matrix' and other provisions of the finance documents identify well over a hundred decisions Tubelines must take if lenders so direct.

'These include how works are performed, the scheduling of works, the choice of subcontractors and the settlement of disputes.'

He adds that LUL's plans to give private lending firms such powers were 'an extraordinary and inappropriate abdication of public responsibility.'

An LUL spokesperson this week said that banks would have some influence over where their investment would be going.

'The banks are about to lend £4.5bn on the biggest ever investment programme for the Tube. It is reasonable for them to want some reassurance that their money will be spent wisely, ' he said.

However he added it was 'totally ludicrous' for Kiley to suggest that banks would have any inappropriate influence over day to day operational or safety issues.

It was confirmed this week that permission has been granted for London mayor Ken Livingstone's second judicial review against the PPP to be heard. The case is due to start on 22 July.

INFOPLUS www. thetube. com

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