Draft consolidated budget 2005/2006 (Supplementary) [34]

Session date: 
January 26, 2005
Question By: 
Lynne Featherstone
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Before my question, just to comment on the proposed expansion of Congestion Charging to target hotspots in the boroughs, I would entirely agree with you. I have been nagging you for some to look at it that way, so long as the boroughs are king in all of that. However, I would remind you of the investment you had to put into public transport to make the Central Charging Zone work, and that if you start to bring in targeted congestion in the suburbs to look also at the budget you would need to ensure there are public transport improvements in outer London.

I noted in your presentation you were a bit tetchy and a bit protective about the TfL precept, the £25-26 million. I think that belies the fact that it was quite clear (at the Budget Committee I popped into to hear the presentation) that you are pretty desperate to hang on to that £25 million over the five years, but there was no real grounding from what I could see. TfL's budget is so huge and was so flabby in all the explanations that I think it is a kind of padding or a financial buffer for this year and other years. I think it is so easy to say it is important, do not touch this budget, but I am thinking of all the people on fixed incomes in those boroughs who are going to have to pay this precept and the council precept even though it is low. It may be peanuts to you but it is not peanuts to them. I really resent the issue of cutting the transport budget. I think you are stuffing it with that particular aspect.

I just wanted to test you on one thing that you know I have been pursuing, the £85 million per year fare evasion. If you even targeted a quarter of that it is £21 million a year, you are nearly there on the precept. You cannot always not do the hard stuff and always go for the easy solution. On that basis alone, I think TfL is really pushing its luck with that element of the budget ' question mark.

Answer

Answer for Draft consolidated budget 2005/2006 (Supplementary) [34]

Answer for Draft consolidated budget 2005/2006 (Supplementary) [34]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Question mark or press release, who knows? I point out that fare evasion has declined under my administration. We will bear down it. The reality is there will be some level of fare evasion, but the introduction of the Oyster Card and the expansion of the revenue collection officers are all having an effect. You will never get it down to zero, but we will happily continue to bear down on it. I really do think that if you are going to be hawking yourself around Hornsey saying that I want to cut your budget and I want to spend money on expanding bus services in Hornsey. You will recall when you came to see me because you wanted a bus service to subsidise the school run, I had to override the financial advice of my officers that it is not viable financially, and I did it because it is socially necessary. I have to say, you cannot have your London transport cake and eat it.