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MPs call for Tube PPP to be scrapped

TRANSPORT SECRETARY Stephen Byers should scrap public private partnership (PPP) plans for London's Underground, because of doubts over value for money, MPs said on Tuesday.

The cross party Commons Transport Sub Committee said methods of establishing whether the PPP would give best value for money 'are subjective and difficult or impossible to quantify' 'There are clear differences of opinion between experts in the engineering, management and finance fields involved in the process about these factors, ' said the committee in a report published on Tuesday.

'We note that the Secretary of State accepted that it will not be possible to provide a definitive answer regarding the value for money of the bids, and we therefore recommend that the government does not approve the PPP deal, ' it says.

Instead, the committee urges government and London Mayor Ken Livingstone to develop an alternative method of financing the Tube upgrade.

It also expresses concern that the government has not explored the possibility of topping up private finance raised by PPP consortia with public money should a bid for one of the Tube concessions fail the value for money test.

The committee also criticised Treasury ministers for refusing to speak to them about the PPP deal despite the fact that they were likely to have an input into decisions on the deal.

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