§ Mr. Hill
As we have made clear in the past, we have not given specific deadlines. We have learned the lessons of the rail privatisation debacle when best value was compromised by working to a politically driven timetable. The position on the PPP is that bids have been received for the sub-surface lines contract, and best and final offers have been invited for the two deep tube contracts. Contracts will be signed when the bids have been evaluated and negotiations are complete, subject to the bids representing best value.
§ Mr. Hill
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 18 May 2000,Official Report, column 252W. I shall shortly be reporting London Transport's expenditure on external consultants for work on the PPP and restructuring London Underground up to the end of the first half of the current financial year, and a forecast of the expected final outturn.
§ Mr. Cohen
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the findings of the Independent Review of the Public-Private Partnership carried out on behalf of the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority by Mr. Will Hutton; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hill
The review contains a wide-ranging discussion of issues relating to London Underground funding, and has a great deal that is positive to say about the PPP. It says,The PPP will provide a framework in which higher investment can be insulated from Treasury cuts and planned over a 30-year period.It goes on to say that,The contract outlines we have inspected offer a workable framework for improved performance for most aspects of the Underground,and that therewards and penalties together should incentivise investment, cost control and good management.I particularly noted its statement thatThe Review does not subscribe to the argument that the PPP structure is inherently unsafe and it recognises the special effort made by Government in ensuring that safety is managed centrally and rests ultimately in public sector hands.
§ Ms Oona King
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what reports he has received on the quality of service on the Circle Line in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement.