STEVEN NORRIS, former Tory transport minister and leading contender in the race to become London Mayor, this week renewed his vow to halt the partial privatisation of London's Tube if he won office.
'It represents incredibly poor value,' Norris told NCE. 'To ask the private sector to value the risk of maintaining such an ageing infrastructure means it will be obliged to value the work very conservatively to cover the risk.'
Norris claimed the Government's plan would start to fall apart as soon as the private sector realised the extent of the risks and was forced to return high bids.
'We are getting to within spitting distance of the election and the chances of the deal going through as envisaged are very slim,' he predicted.
Norris's comments came in advance of the publication of his own pre- election plan to transform transport in London.
He said it was vital for the Mayor to explain to the public that large infrastructure projects cost money and take time. But he emphasised he would be cautious about using blanket congestion charging to raise cash. Antony Oliver