Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [8]

Session date: 
February 23, 2015
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  We are glad that you have made a partial backtrack on the way to help relieve off-peak passengers from a problem that you created.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Off-peak part-time workers.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Yes, for part-time workers.  Mr Mayor, you do need to accept that this is just one of the many ways in which you did make the entire transport system unaffordable for many Londoners.

 

I just want to talk to you about a particular case study.  A young graduate called Kim gave us her story.  She is one of two million Londoners living on the National Minimum Wage.  There are two million Londoners living on the National Minimum Wage.  She travels from Hillingdon in Zone 6 into Zone 1 to work in a hospitality job and her journey now costs her £58.50 a week.  That is almost a quarter of her weekly salary, yet in 2008 she would have paid 31% less.  She would have been paying £44.60.

 

Obviously, this is not a unique case, Mr Mayor.  Your fare increases have affected millions of Londoners living on the National Minimum Wage.  The rise has completely put into the shade any tiny reduction in the council tax.  You have been charging the fares in pounds and pounds, not relieving them in pennies

Answer

Answer for Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [8]

Answer for Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [8]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I understand that ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Did you know that London is now the highest fare city in the world?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, it is not.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Independent studies have shown that.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is not true.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  London is the highest fare city in the world.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is not, but it is ‑‑

 

Jenny Jones AM:  It is.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is not and I would be happy to supply you with details.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Which city is worse?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  There are plenty of other cities that are more expensive.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Go on.  Name me one.  Name me one city where the fares are as high.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I believe I have been to one of them recently.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Where was that, Mr Mayor?

 

Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Can we allow the Mayor to finish, please?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The answer to your point is ‑‑

 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Would you write to us?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I would be happy to write to you with a list.  The answer to your point is that of course there is a choice for this city between investing in transport infrastructure and cutting the fares.  That is what we have faced time and time again.

 

I will get back to my answer.  Under this mayoralty, we have actually given people over 60, every single one of them in London, free transport 24 hours a day ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, before you filibuster too much of my time ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I am sorry.  You have wasted too much of my time, to be honest.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  ‑‑ can I go back to that point about investment, Mr Mayor?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We have given every young person ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, can I just ask you about investment?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We have perpetuated free travel for every young person.  We have continued to support those in search of work, disabled people, indeed veterans, people who are in apprenticeships ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Chairman, can I ask Mr Mayor about investment?

 

Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Yes.  Carry on, please.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  You made the point there that the fares are higher than the rest of the world, basically, because ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I have not.  You have asserted that and I have denied it.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  ‑‑ you have invested in transport.  OK.  I have been looking at some of the projects that we call your ‘white elephants’, those projects where you have wasted money.  They have been badly run and some of them have been, frankly, frivolous.  We have looked at the cable car and the cost of the cycling hire scheme, which should not have cost us anything.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Sorry.  How were you going to pay for it?

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  We have looked at the estuary airport.  We have looked at the extra cost of the Routemasters over and above normal hybrids.  We have looked at the loss you made on the private finance initiative (PFI) credits for the bridge.  We have looked at other things like the Garden Bridge, the cable car and all of that.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You have mentioned that already.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Do you know, Mr Mayor, how much all of that waste now adds up to?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  There has been virtually no waste by comparison with the previous regime.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  All of those frivolous, bonkers, wasteful projects ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You talk about the cable car.  Let me tell you.  The cable car ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  ‑‑ Mr Mayor, now add up to £500 million.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Rubbish.  Absolute rubbish.  You are talking total rubbish.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  There was £565.2 million spent basically standing under a shower, tearing up Londoners’ money, which is what you would say the estuary airport was, Mr Mayor.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Absolute rubbish.  Let me just remind you.  The cable car, or the Emirates Air Line as we should call it, is the only ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  It cost Londoners £61 million.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, it did not.  That is a complete lie.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  According to Isabel Dedring [Deputy Mayor for Transport], it cost Londoners £61 million.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is a complete lie and you must not repeat that because it is absolute nonsense.  The overall budget including contingency was £61 million, but there was £36 million ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Do you deny that you have wasted £500 million of Londoners’ money ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Can I finish?  This is actually quite interesting.  There was £36 million in sponsorship.  The overall budget, by the way, was £50 million and something.  The spend was only about £50 million and something.  There was £36 million from sponsorship and £8 million from the European Union.  Within the next ten years, the cable car - which is already covering its revenue costs - will pay back the rest of its capital costs as well.  There is no other piece of transport infrastructure in London that does that.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  The cycle hire scheme has cost £250 million alone, which should have cost nothing.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  As to the cycle hire scheme ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  The Parisians have their cycle hire scheme for free and you have wasted money ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  OK.  I am sorry.  This is absolutely ‑‑

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am not going to sit here and take this.  It is complete tripe.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  ‑‑ can I just make my last point because I have run out of time?  Can I just say, Mr Mayor?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You are talking complete tripe.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  If you will write to me and tell me which city in the world is more expensive to travel in than London ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I certainly will.  There are several more expensive and you are talking total tripe.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  ‑‑ I will write to you will a full account of the £500 million of Londoners’ money that you have wasted.  Thank you, Chairman.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Your prime example was the cable car, on which I proved immediately that you were talking absolute nonsense.

 

On the cycle hire scheme, we actually attracted £50 million worth of sponsorship.  Labour says that Ken Livingstone [former Mayor of London] had a plan for this cycle hire scheme and was somehow going to pay for it from sponsorship from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) or something.  Who was going to pay for it?  Unite?  Were they going to pay for the cycle hire?  How was that going to work?

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Paris had a free system operated by an advertising company, JCDecaux.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You are talking total nonsense and you know that that is untrue because you know that we do not have the same access to advertising panels in this city as they do in Paris.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Chairman, I have to finish there because I want to save some time for my colleagues.  Thank you.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is an insult to the intelligence of others.