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Baroness Thomas of Walliswood had given notice of her intention to move Amendment No. 325XA:

Page 266, line 43, leave out from ("scheme") to third ("the") in line 44.

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The noble Baroness said: This is another set of amendments concerned with the length of time for which the financing of the scheme can be allowed. As we have already discussed these matters at some length, I shall not move any of the amendments that deal with that matter.

[Amendment No. 325XA not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 325YA to 326 not moved.]

Schedule 19, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 230 and 231 agreed to.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 326A:

After Clause 231, insert the following new clause--


(" . The Secretary of State shall ensure that London Regional Transport remains adequately funded during the transitional period.").

The noble Baroness said: I beg to move Amendment No. 326A formally.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: It may be helpful if I give a little background here. Chapter XIV of Part IV of the Bill deals with the arrangements for the transition from London Regional Transport to Transport for London.

During Second Reading in another place, my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced that if, as seemed likely, the bidding process for the London Underground PPP ran beyond the GLA elections, the Government would see that process through.

Chapter XIV therefore allows a slimmed down London Transport to be kept in existence as long as is necessary to see through the PPP process. For a limited transitional period, therefore, Transport for London and London Transport will exist in parallel. As subsection (9) of Clause 231 makes clear, that transitional period will end once LRT ceases to provide or secure the provision of public passenger transport services.

In practical terms, that means that LT will remain in existence under ministerial sponsorship until the PPP contracts are let. During that period London Transport will retain responsibility for operating the Underground. Once the PPP contracts are let, management of the PPP and LT's Underground functions will pass to the mayor and Transport for London under the transfer provisions in Part XII of this Bill.

We feel that the Bill is not the appropriate place to resolve matters of funding. We have a public expenditure system with a budget process and Members of both Houses are able to express their opinion on levels of funding in that context. I hope therefore that the Committee will accept that the amendments will provide no guarantees for LRT. I am prepared to write to the noble Baroness if she would like further information in this area, and hope that she feels able to withdraw her amendment.

Lord Brabazon of Tara: I make one brief observation on the two amendments. It is a mistake that

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they should state that London Regional Transport should "remain" adequately funded. The point about PPP and everything else is that at present it is not adequately funded. We want it to be adequately funded; it cannot remain funded in the way that it is.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: The anxiety behind these amendments was that there would be a hiatus in funding while the process of completing the PPP agreements was finalised. I shall read with care what the noble Baroness said. I shall be grateful if she will write, but I would appreciate it if her letters could be directed to my noble friend Lord Ezra. This matter is

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his great interest, though we all support him in it. He will no doubt keep me fully informed of the information the noble Baroness sends to him. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses 232 to 235 agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

        House adjourned at two minutes past eleven o'clock.

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