Byers says 'wreckers' oppose Tube project

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The Independent Online

People who opposed private-sector involvement in London Underground were "wreckers" who wanted to stop badly needed investment, Stephen Byers, the Transport Secretary, said.

Speaking in the Commons, he gave his clearest hint that he will back public-private partnerships if they are approved by London Transport.

Mr Byers said he would publish an independent assessment of the proposals next Thursday when London Transport is expected to give its verdict on the private sector bids to renovate underground lines. He said £13bn of investment was needed over the next 15 years. "People next week will have a choice: either to block the modernisation proposals, and they'll be the wreckers; or there will be the reformers who want to go ahead with modernisation and change."

Mr Byers said the contracts to improve the Tube, to be signed in March, would have to satisfy a value-for-money test.