END TUBE PPP ‘SCAM’ – urges RMT secretary Bob Crow

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FAILING Tube privateer Metronet should get no more public money, and be ‘brought back in-house’ London Underground’s biggest union said yesterday.

As the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Arbiter announced that Metronet was likely to get an interim extra £121 million of the £551 million it has asked for to cover ‘cost overruns’ on the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines (BCV) over the next year, RMT renewed its call for the PPP contracts to be brought back in-house.

Metronet is seeking £992 million for overruns for the first seven and a half years of the BCV contract alone, and is expected to file a similar claim for its sub-surface lines contract.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: ‘£121 million is still £121 million too much, even if it is nowhere near the £2 billion more of taxpayers’ and fare-payers’ money that Metronet is looking for.

‘Even if the PPP was delivering everything expected of it, it would still be less than LUL delivered when it controlled infrastructure work in the public sector, and it would still be costing billions more.

‘Metronet, and the PPP scam that has already allowed them to siphon millions out of the Tube network, have clearly failed and it is clearer than ever that these contracts should be brought back in-house before any more damage is done.’

In his draft direction statement yesterday on Metronet BCV’s request for increased stage payments (Interim ISC) for the next 12 months, Chris Bolt, the statutory Arbiter for the London Underground PPP Agreements, said: ‘London Underground, which pays the ISC, had suggested no increase.

‘This draft direction reflects an assessment that efficient costs over the next 12 months are £243 million in excess of the current baseline, compared with £332 million claimed by Metronet BCV.

‘But the Arbiter has also reached the view that if Metronet BCV had delivered in an efficient and economic way, its costs would have been lower than the baseline in the first four years of the contract.’

The Arbiter added: ‘Stakeholders have seven days to respond to the draft directions, and the Arbiter expects to publish his final directions on Interim ISC by 31 July 2007.

‘Metronet made the request as part of its reference for an Extraordinary Review of the PPP Agreement covering the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria (BCV) lines.

‘It is seeking a total additional payment of £992 million for the first 7 1/2 years of the contract.

‘A further reference for Extraordinary Review is expected in respect of Metronet’s SSL (sub-surface lines) agreement later this year.’

Metronet’s board of directors was meeting yesterday amid rumours that the consortium is on the verge of bankruptcy may have to go into administration.