Commons body in scathing attack on chancellor

The powerful, Labour dominated, all-party Commons Transport Committee slammed him, just hours after Wednesday’s Budget, for his refusal to allow a Treasury minister to come before it, to discuss the controversial Public Private Partnership for the London Underground.

In a report it said there ‘was no better example of the excessive influence of the Treasury’, adding that the chancellor was personally responsible for the proposal.

In addition, it said Brown had treated Transport secretary Stephen Byers as ‘little more than a messenger’.

The CTC criticised the PPP deal for offered poor value for money, being ‘needlessly complex’ and failing to transfer enough risk to the private sector.

The committee has asked the full House of Commons to order the chancellor, or one of his junior ministers, to appear before it.

In February, accountants from Ernst & Young gave the PPP plan for the Tube the green light, although they were later criticised for being unable to say whether the deal offered good value for money.

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