Published: 19 February 2010
• READERS will be aware that months of evening and weekend closures planned for the Northern line are going to be a serious inconvenience. And it’s all because Gordon Brown’s failed Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the Tube prevents the Mayor from getting tough with the contractors involved.
From March for 20 months, there will be 82 weekends when the line, London’s busiest, is partly or completely closed for signal upgrades. That’s bad news for anyone living here.
Also, the last trains will leave central London as early as 10pm on weekdays for 16 months from July, which has to be a problem for Islington’s night-time economy of bars and restaurants. At a time when business rates are imposing huge strain on employers, trading will suffer and staff may be laid off.
Mr Brown forced onto London an inflexible and expensive PPP plan for the upgrade of the Tube, which allows foreign-owned contractors to put profits ahead of passengers’ needs. Two-thirds of the PPP collapsed when Metronet went bust in 2007. Only Tube Lines, which has taken much longer than planned to upgrade the Jubilee line, remains.
The Mayor has had to call on the Transport Secretary to step in to stop Tube Lines taking so much out of the PPP deal in fees.
It is all a terrible mess. And it’s Mr Brown who is to blame for setting up a scheme that will inflict so much inconvenience on this borough and its neighbours.
Conservative parliamentary candidate for Islington South and Finsbury