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Byers denies Treasury push for Tube spend delay

News :

TRANSPORT SECRETARY Stephen Byers last week rejected claims that the Treasury had insisted on delaying key investments in the £13bn privately financed upgrade of London Underground (LU).

Byers was giving evidence to MPs on the Commons transport sub-committee. His claims contradict those of Linc consortium non-executive chairman Michael Cassidy (see News last week).

Linc bid unsuccessfully for the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria line contract (BCV) and for the subsurface lines contract (SSL) which includes the Metropolitan, District and Circle Lines.

Its members are Mowlem, Alcatel, Anglian Water, Bombardier and Fluor Daniel.

Byers said it was LU and not the Treasury that has pushed to delay investment in new trains.

Cassidy previously told the sub-committee that the Treasury had ordered bidders to put back spending on new trains until years eight to 12 of the 30-year public private partnership contracts.

He claimed this was because their introduction could push up bonus payments for good performance, and that the Treasury could not afford to pay these.

LU said this week that buying new rolling stock had been pushed back into years eight to 12 of the contracts because work such as replacing signalling systems was a higher priority.

Nina Lovelace INFOPLUS See p18 for interview with London transport commissioner Bob Kiley.

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