Transport trouble: Mayor Ken Livingstone will scrutinise E&Y’s new value-for-money report

Ernst & Young has been asked to carry out a value-for-money probe of the government’s controversial part-privatisation of the Tube network, writes Philip Smith.

In what will be seen as a test of the firm’s independence, E&Y has been called in by transport secretary Stephen Byers to assess the plans ahead of announcing successful bidders for the #13bn contracts.

E&Y is already running the nation’s railway system after Byers pulled the plug on Railtrack last month.

The move came as Byers launched a charm offensive revealing how London’s hard-pressed commuters would benefit from investment in the underground system.

The deals will also be investigated by the National Audit Office, but only after they have been signed.

Byers said: ‘If the project does not prove better value for money than the alternatives then it will not proceed.’

Controversy surrounds the part-privatisation deals, with London Mayor Ken Livingstone (left), and transport commissioner Bob Kiley launching several challenges. Deloitte & Touche was dragged into the row after the publication of its damning report on the plan, which was later criticised for containing ‘inaccuracies, misunderstandings and unsubstantiated statements’.

PwC: D&T Tube report not ‘balanced’ Public+Services/1125088.

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