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Merseytravel accuses Darling over failed tramlink

News

TRANSPORT SECRETARY Alistair Darling unlawfully withdrew government cash from Liverpool's Merseytram light rail scheme, forcing its collapse, a High Court judge heard this week.

Passenger transport authority Merseytravel's barrister David Pannick accused Darling of rewriting funding conditions to make it harder for the project to go ahead.

'We say that the secretary of state sought to impose much more onerous conditions, ' he said.

But Darling's barrister David Donaldson, criticised Merseytravel for failing to challenge the change of conditions sooner.

'Even if the goalposts were moved everyone played on the pitch thereafter, ' he said.

He also accused Merseytravel of failing to meet original funding conditions regardless of subsequent changes.

Merseytravel has won a judicial review into cancellation of the scheme (NCE 19 January).

It is seeking to force the government to reinstate its £170M contribution.

Darling withdrew funding after Merseytravel failed to assure him that central government would not have to pay potential cost overruns.

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