§ 31. Sir Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)
When the new rolling stock will come fully into service on the London Underground Northern line; and what has caused the delays. 
§ The Minister for Transport in London (Ms Glenda Jackson)
Madam Speaker—[Interruption.] Perhaps that passes in the House for the cry of, "Encore."
London Underground expects that a full Northern line service will be provided with new trains by early autumn 1999. The delivery of new trains was delayed by more than a year due to production problems at ALSTOM's train-building plant. Deliveries started during 1997.
Before the trains can be brought into service, a number of difficulties are being resolved relating to the train and associated systems. For example, there have been problems with the computer software on trains and a delay in delivering the train simulator.
§ Sir Sydney Chapman
I am sure that, like mine, the hon. Lady's constituents will be deeply disappointed at the delays in bringing the new rolling stock on to the Northern line. As the private finance initiative negotiated contract contained a specific clause placing financial penalties on the manufacturers and suppliers of the rolling stock for late delivery, can she say what financial compensation will be paid either to the Government or to London Transport?
§ Ms Jackson
On the ground of commercial confidentiality, I regret that I cannot give the absolute figure, but there is little doubt that those companies are having to pay penalties for their failure to meet their side of the contract.
§ Mr. Richard Ottaway (Croydon, South)
Will the Minister take this opportunity to cast some light into the black hole of London Underground's finances? We know that the London Underground subsidy ceases in 2000, that the costs of the Jubilee line extension are up by £100 million this year, and that further losses are to be announced due to the delay in finishing the extension. How does she intend to make up those losses? Will it be by grant, or will they be added to London Underground's balance sheet?
The Secretary of State is already planning to dump the costs of his ridiculous public-private partnership on the new Greater London authority. How much extra is he proposing to add to the mayor's bill, due to his hopeless, incompetent management of London Underground?
§ Ms Jackson
I would have thought that even the hon. Gentleman had been in post long enough to be able to drop his usual approach, which is not only ill-mannered, but ill-informed. As he well knows, the Government have found an additional £365 million for London Underground, which means that, over the next two years, it will be able to meet the full commitment of £550 million a year, a maintenance bill that was left because of the previous Administration's failure, year on year, adequately to core-fund London Underground.
There were six increases in the proposed final budget for the Jubilee line extension between 1993, when the project was given the go ahead, and May 1997—every time under the hon. Gentleman's Administration. That is another graphic example of their lamentable failure to exercise proper stewardship of London's transport.