London's regeneration funds

MQT on 2015-01-21
Session date: 
January 21, 2015
Question By: 
John Biggs
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


In one of its earliest decisions, the coalition government scrapped over £400m annually of funding available to support investment in assisting the economic growth of our city, in areas that the market fails to reach. Was this money needed?   


Answer for London's regeneration funds

Answer for London's regeneration funds

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thanks, John.  I think you are really asking a question about the LDA.


John Biggs AM:  No, I am not. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am sorry. 


John Biggs AM:  The question is very clear on the face of the paper. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  OK.  In that case, I do not accept whatever reduction you think you are talking about.  I mistakenly thought you must be talking about the LDA.  It has not had any effect on our ability to deliver regeneration and to deliver the most successful Olympic Games, the transformation of the Lower Lea Valley, the £1 billion investment going to Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea, Crossrail, Thameslink and all those things that are going ahead.  London is now going through the most spectacular period of regeneration that we have seen certainly in our lifetimes and probably for much longer than that.


John Biggs AM:  I specifically was not asking you about the LDA because that has been abolished and we are happy that it has gone, but the question was that it was funded - the LDA did exist, it was funded - and that funding was for regeneration in London. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You are talking about the LDA’s funds?


John Biggs AM:  The question is: were the funds that were disposed through the LDA funds that London needed or not?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  OK.  The answer is that the funds have been more than substituted by the investment that we have obtained in one way or the other.  If you take out the Olympic spending of the LDA, it was running in 2012 at about £300 million at its absolute height.  Next year I will be spending £400 billion - we will be here in the Mayoral team - alone on regenerating London through the New London Development Corporation (NLDC), through the Northern line extension.  We have £110 million for the Growing Places Fund, £120 million for the Further Education Capital Fund, £70 million for the Regeneration Fund, £50 million for the Outer London Fund, £70 million funding for the New Homes Bonus and £9 million for the High Street Fund. 


John Biggs AM:  OK.  I am aware of the list.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Then, just in the Autumn Statement, there was a further £141 million towards regeneration in the Stratford area.  


John Biggs AM:  OK.  The reason you are blustering on this is because ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am not.  I am just giving you the figures.


John Biggs AM:  ‑‑ if we were being frank with one another about this, the problem is that, yes, the LDA probably did deserve to be wound up but the need for investment in things that the marketplace will not do in London remains.  You have been scrambling around for the last two to three years since you became alive to this issue to find funding for things like the bridge and for things like the trampoline, which even you decided had to be cancelled in the end.  The things like ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have not, no.  Wait.  No.  I have not.  I have noticed that ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  I am still asking the question.  For things like ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have called.  I want that property examined.  Peter Hendy [Commissioner, TfL] issued a fatwa against the trampoline, but we are going to have a look at it. 


John Biggs AM:  Are you pro-trampoline, then?  Do you want to spend ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I will not be bounced into it. 


John Biggs AM:  That is very good. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I will not be bounced into it, but I want to have a look at it. 


John Biggs AM:  There is a serious point here, which is that we are finding bit-by-bit that you are using transport money, which is hard-pressed fare-payers’ money and which we discussed at the beginning of this meeting, to fund things which are not really about transport.  The reason you are doing that - and fare-payers should not be agreeing that you are doing this - is because you do not have the resources in City Hall.  This is why you went for the New Homes Bonus as well.  This is because you do not have the resources for investing in things like language and skills training and in bits of infrastructure that will help catalyse regeneration.  You have to scramble around because you short-sightedly applauded the abolition of the LDA. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You just applauded it. 


John Biggs AM:  You short-sightedly applauded the abolition without trying to argue for and hang on to its funding.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  OK.  Several things.  I have just very quickly cantered through some of the hundreds and hundreds of millions of pounds of regeneration that we are spending in one way or the other through the Growing Places Fund or the High Street Fund or the Outer London Fund or all the new Olympicopolis money or whatever.  These are huge sums.  Taken together, these are huge sums. 


John Biggs AM:  They are not huge enough, are they?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What you are asking is a reasonable question, which is one that I know that the Budget Committee - which you chair - is also focusing on, quite legitimately, which is whether TfL is being used as a regeneration driver and a cash cow in a way that it should not be.  I do not think that is true.  In every case you can show either that there is a transport use or that transport concerned will drive jobs and growth.


John Biggs AM:  Particularly the trampoline, of course. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  As I say, I will not be bounced into supporting the trampoline. 


John Biggs AM:  It is your trampoline.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is nobody’s trampoline yet.


John Biggs AM:  It is the Boris Johnson trampoline.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It does not exist.  As far as I know, it is just a doodle on some ‑‑


John Biggs AM:  You found it.  Even there, you are stretching things too far. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Listen.  This is a serious question that deserves a serious answer and he is undermining his own question by dragging in the trampoline. 


Roger Evans (Chairman):  Unfortunately, the Labour group is out of time and we do seem to be degenerating a little bit. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Anyway, the answer is that TfL is not the LDA of today, but transport leads to regeneration.