Down the Tube

As the Treasury minister responsible, together with the Deputy Prime Minister, for what Steve Richards (24 May) describes as the "shambolic and costly public/private financial proposals for London Underground", may I comment as follows.

The infrastructure renewal programme was put out to the private sector not just to involve private sector capital, but also private sector project management skills. Nothing more demonstrates the need for improvement in London Underground's capacity to manage large-scale capital expenditure programmes than the "shambolic and costly" Jubilee Line extension. So bad was the situation that I understand Lord Levene insisted that project management responsibility should be passed to Bechtel, a private sector company, for completion.

The idea that the present London Underground management could be left alone to manage the huge refurbishment programme required beggars belief.

Geoffrey Robinson MP
House of Commons, London SW1

This article first appeared in the 31 May 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Between two mental universes