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LONDON TUBE PPP - MAYOR & COMMISSIONER DECIDE AGAINST LEGAL APPEAL

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Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, and Bob Kiley, commissioner of transport for London, have issued the following st...
Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, and Bob Kiley, commissioner of transport for London, have issued the following statement:

'On 30 July the high court ruled that the government had the power to try to impose its proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) contracts on London in the face of opposition from the mayor and from Londoners. Mr Justice Sullivan's judgement made clear that the court was not ruling on whether the government's PPP scheme is safe or provides value for money. Nor did he decide on the legality of any particular contractual terms. The next day, on 31 July, Mr Justice Sullivan ruled against London Transport's efforts to suppress the Deloitte & Touche value-for-money report.

'We have carefully considered these judgements and concluded:

* The government's proposed PPP represents an inherently unworkable management scheme by separating control of train operations from safety-critical maintenance activities. It sets the wrong priorities and provides inadequate control over the work of private contractors working in this essential public asset. We will therefore continue to oppose this PPP and advocate the alternative plan for the renewal of the Underground set out in the Transport Strategy.

* If the government seeks to conclude PPP contracts it must still do so in a lawful manner. As mayor and commissioner we will continue to use all appropriate means to enforce London's rights in this matter.

* The government has pledged not to conclude PPP agreements unless they are demonstrated to be safe and provide value for money. It has so far failed to make the case that either of these tests have been met and has sought to prevent the publication of the Deloitte & Touche report on value for money.

* Our legal advice is that an appeal against the high court ruling on the narrow issue decided by Mr Sullivan on 30 July is unlikely to succeed. We will not therefore be appealing this specific ruling.

* At the same time, Mr Justice Sullivan made clear there is nothing in the Greater London Authority Act to compel the mayor to incorporate PPP contracts into his Transport Strategy. The judgement stated that whether the PPP was wise or foolish was a matter for politicians and voters, not the courts, to decide, and the following day the judge ruled that this vital public debate requires freedom of information.

'Most importantly, the court noted in its 31 July ruling that debate on the wisdom of PPP is of vital public interest and overturned the injunction preventing

publication of the independent report on whether the proposals of the preferred bidders provide value for money.

'Our most immediate priority is to secure the publication of this report so that the public can judge these issues for themselves before contracts are signed

by the government which would bind London for 30 years. If the government seeks permission to appeal it would only delay publication of this essential

information. If the government was confident that its PPP provided value for money, it would not fear full and informed public debate.'

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