Olympic ticketing - local residents (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
November 18, 2009
Question By: 
Dee Doocey
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


hank you. I recognise the constraints but I think there are three types of Londoners, all of whom are paying through the Council Tax, as you so rightly say. The first is the people who have put up with very, very severe disruption for seven years by living in the middle of a building site with all the noise, pollution and everything that goes with that. I think they are in a very, very different position to other Londoners.

The second category, I would say, would be disadvantaged communities. In order for us to make good on the promise that it would be Games for everybody and people would not be excluded, there needs to be some cognisance taken of the fact that there are people in London who simply could not even dream of affording to go to the Games.

The third is the rest of London and natural justice would say that if Londoners are paying more that they should have --


Answer for Olympic ticketing - local residents (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Olympic ticketing - local residents (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I agree.

Dee Doocey (AM): I recognise the problem of the European law. I do think, however, that what you need to do is, instead of complaining about it, like we have all done, you need to find a way round it.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You are not suggesting I should break it?

Dee Doocey (AM): Indeed not. No, I would be the last person to suggest you would break a law, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Good.

Dee Doocey (AM): I would suggest, though, that it would be possible, for the category who have had their lives so severely disrupted, for them to be given tickets, and I understand that is not against EU law. Indeed, I know that some of the sponsors who are paying up to £20 million in sponsorship, in the cash element of their sponsorship, are making tickets available and they are going to have various draws. What I think I would like you to sign up to is if you could allocate --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I am very wary of signing up to all your brilliant proposals now. Go on. What are you going to suggest?

Dee Doocey (AM): Why do you not just listen to what it is first! Allocate a certain number of tickets. I think you do not need probably more than about 50,000 tickets and if you say £20 a ticket, that is only £1 million. Allocate that number of tickets for those people whose lives have been completely disrupted over seven years and say that for those people in that area, they can have free tickets or very, very heavily discounted tickets, which will not breach European law because they will be handed to them.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): All I will say, Dee, is that you are definitely on to something. You are. I am not going to make a commitment now because your idea is quite difficult to formulate and the recipients are quite difficult to define, but work is being done on schemes of that kind.

Obviously it is worth pointing out that I think it is already a Conservative pledge. I may plug the Conservatives and I do not see why not --

Dee Doocey (AM): By all means do, yes!

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): As far as I can remember there is a commitment to fund, from Government funds, a considerable number of tickets for specific categories of disadvantaged people, notably soldiers who have been injured and other veterans. So work is already in hand to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups but your particular idea --

Dee Doocey (AM): I want to help you out, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- I understand and, indeed, your particular idea is already under development. The issue is because there will be a huge number of people in London who think that they quality for special consideration. There are going to be nine million tickets, roughly speaking, in total available. To fund the Olympics we have to raise £500 million from the ticketing and, therefore, there is a balance to be struck.

Dee Doocey (AM): These particular ideas are not under active consideration. I know they are not. What is under active consideration is how various ticketing options can be made available, for example, for Londoners to get in to the Park rather than to the Games. I know there is a lot of work being done on that.

What I was going to propose is I will work out the plan for you, to help you out --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Please do so.

Dee Doocey (AM): I will. For two categories. Of course there are lots of people who think, 'I must get special treatment' but nobody can argue that those people who have been living on a building site should be treated differently. So, for those people and also for people in the most disadvantaged communities. I will then raise it with you again once you have got all of the details so you have got no excuse to prevaricate in your normal charming way, and I will ask you to sign up to it next time. Thank you.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I would not dream of prevaricating. OK, Dee. Listen. If you could draw up your proposal. I think you would need to define fairly tightly the groups that you wish to bestow your largesse upon - or, rather, everybody else's largesse upon - and you should bear in mind that there will be difficulties around touting and resale and other complicated questions which need to be resolved. Simply giving someone a free ticket in a deprived neighbourhood may be counterproductive if all they do is take that as something that they can sell on at great expense. We need to think through all those issues.