Backers meet to canvass for Liverpool tram

A delegation of Liverpool leaders has met prime minister Tony Blair to urge a positive decision on the city's beleaguered tram scheme.

Last week Liverpool City Council voted in favour of underwriting a £24 million contingency fund for the scheme with Knowsley Council. The Department for Transport was expected to reach its verdict earlier this week.

But Riverside MP Louise Ellman and Knowsley North MP George Howarth organised the last-minute meeting to convince Blair of the importance of the scheme.

The MPs' constituencies represent the two ends of the planned route, which stretches from Kings Dock to Kirkby.

Liverpool and Knowsley council leaders were also present. The group is concerned about the government's demands that the two local authorities should agree to meet any shortfall in the scheme and not just the previously agreed £24 million (Planning, 4 November, p6).

Ellman said: "We have taken this right to the top. It now seems that the goalposts have moved and we think this is unreasonable." Blair listened to their case and said that he will make further enquiries, she added.

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