TfL Budget (Supplementary) [7]

Session date: 
May 22, 2002
Question By: 
John Biggs
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

As you answered that, it struck me that you must have learnt something while you were in Moscow about answering questions in an imaginative and thoughtful fashion that directs people away from the truth. But, then it struck me that you are the father and midwife of `spin" in the UK - you are superlatively brilliant at it - and I think you make Tony Blair look pretty poor in that respect.

The fact is, there is an underspend of, depending how you look at it, either £140m or £160m against what you said you would spend. Earlier in the debate you said if you had the powers of the Mayor of Moscow you would deliver things on time and to cost, because one person is responsible. In the case of TfL, one person is responsible and that person is you. You clearly haven"t delivered a spend to that budget, so why is that? Why haven't you spent £140m that you told Londoners you would spend?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for TfL Budget (Supplementary) [7]

Answer for TfL Budget (Supplementary) [7]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

There were three key reasons. First was the £25m on the slippage on the TLI extension; (2) was the £12m slippage on the boroughs, and that's why I've guaranteed the boroughs a firm £10m increase year-on-year, so they can put in the staff and they don't have to hold back vacancies. I suspect the borough slippage figure is going to peter away to zero over the next one or two years. We will still have problems with major projects if we can't get Treasury approval to go ahead. We still haven't got that for the DLR extension and have lost a year whilst the Treasury minces around about the nature of the PFI. We are pushing for PFIs but can't get Treasury approval because of a notional bookkeeping exercise - about whose books the money is on.

But, the biggest slippage was undoubtedly the over-programme with the £83m of borrowing. But we then didn't get a clearance from government that we had the legal power to do that until October. From October to March you are not going to gear up any major programme to actually spend £83m in what is effectively the last five months of the financial year. The good news is that the expenditure figures for TfL in March were virtually 100% of what was expected, and I expect the gap will be dramatically reduced in the forthcoming year.