Underspend (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
January 14, 2004
Question By: 
Mike Tuffrey
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
Ken Livingstone

Question

That would be helpful. Can I then just return to the Mayor in my final question?

When confronted with the problems on the Tube, your typical response is, `oh well, my hands are tied; I have only just taken it over; it is nowt to do with me, guv'. But the fact is that in this financial year, there is £140 million of resources that could have been deployed on improving the services. Just to give an indication, that, although I appreciate you cannot spend it in a year, is equivalent to 50km of track being completely refurbished and six tube junctions being re-signalled, or over 200 escalators being overhauled.

You cannot spend that in one year, but what consideration did you give, when it became clear there were underspends, to using that money for improving the service today, rather than put it in reserves and thus hold down the Council Tax in an election year?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Underspend (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Underspend (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
Ken Livingstone

If you look at the budget overall we anticipate that, out of a budget on the Underground of £1.146 billion, there will be a £140 million underspend at the end of the year. Three big items dominate that: £87 million underspend on the PPP contracts; £13 million on the PFI contracts; and then Central Services £73 million. On Central Services I am not alarmed, because I expect that is where there is real waste, there is really unnecessary bureaucracy and where Jay Walder will be bearing down to divert resources into real improvements.

On the PFIs, we have two seriously underperforming PFIs, which may go belly-up - a real danger that is there. But on the contracts on the PPPs, the £83 million, they have not claimed, because it is work they have not done. Given that there were no contracts of this complexity that anyone has got any experience with in Britain, I think the PPP companies are finding a much more difficult problem that they envisaged.