Transport

Ways and Means – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 29th November 1994.

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The growing importance of private finance has helped us to find significant savings for the taxpayer in the transport programme. In recent years, there has been a huge increase in public expenditure on the trunk roads and motorway programme which has risen by one half in real terms in the past 10 years. That was essential to tackle traffic bottlenecks and to reduce costs on British industry seeking to get goods to markets at home and abroad.
Now that the main need of the economy is control of public spending and borrowing, we cannot carry on pumping in the same amount of taxpayers' money. We have, therefore, significantly reduced planned public spending on trunk roads and motorways. Even so, public spending on such roads—without taking account of the expected contribution from the private finance initiative—will be considerably higher in real terms than the average level of provision in the 1980s. Rapid progress with private finance of design, build, finance and operate roads will take provision still higher and the first four DBFO schemes will shortly go out to tender.
Private finance will also now play an increasingly major role in London Underground investment. In particular, I am pleased to report that the private finance competition for the provision of a new Northern line train service has proceeded rapidly. My right honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will be able to announce a decision very soon.
That, together with future deals, should improve the quality of London Underground investment as well as its quantity. In addition to the contribution from private finance, the plans in the Budget imply total investment in the underground network next financial year of around £1 billion. The Budget also takes account of the key effects expected to arise from rail privatisation, not least the privatisation of Railtrack within the lifetime of this Parliament, as announced by my right hon Friend the Secretary of State for Transport last week.
As has been the case with other privatisations, rail privatisation will bring benefits to passengers from more efficient management bearing down on costs and being more responsive to passenger needs.