Press Release

Sunday 22 April 2012


With just 11 days to go, this election is coming down to who you can trust.

A campaign spokesman said: “With tight public finances and voters loss of faith in politicians, now more than ever it is crucial that candidates are judged on whether they can be trusted to keep their word.

Boris Johnson has shown he can be trusted- keeping over 90% of the promises he made last time.

By contrast, Ken Livingstone has shown time and again he cannot be trusted to keep his word.

He is promising to cut fares even though he has admitted twice breaking that promise when he was mayor. He is promising to keep council tax low, despite putting it up 152% when he was mayor. He is promising to freeze the congestion charge, despite breaking that promise when he was mayor.

But perhaps most seriously, he has refused to publish all his earnings after promising on live television over two weeks ago to do so. The issue of how much tax he pays matters, because despite publicly attacking people who avoid tax he channels his earnings through a separate company- doing the exact same thing as those he criticises.

In an election about trust, if he can’t keep this simple promise, how can he be trusted to keep any of his other promises?” ENDS

This weekend, Ken Livingstone came under pressure to explain himself and notably failed to answer. The false claims and evasions listed below show why Londoners just cannot trust him and that they have a clear choice on 3rd may- between a mayor who keeps his promises and a mayor who breaks them.

Notes to Editors:

Ken Livingstone interview with Sunday Politics:

Ken Livingstone again made false claims, but also conceded two very important facts from his time as Mayor – showing that he simply cannot be trusted to keep his promise to cut fares.

Admission 1: That he broke his promise in 2000 to freeze fares ‘in real terms for four years.’ (Ken Livingstone, 2000 Manifesto, link) He said: ‘I went in to the election having increased the fares in 2004……I actually increased the fares before the election’ (BBC TV, Sunday Politics, 22 April 2012).

Admission 2: That the Mayor has to ‘by law’ increase Tube fares by inflation every year. He said: ‘While I was Mayor I set the fares. I had to, by law, you have to increase Tube fares in line with inflation. Year by year, except when we wanted the money to build the London Overground, that’s what I did’ (Ibid.).

False claim 1: Ken Livingstone claimed that ‘all the candidates published their tax returns’ and ‘what I’ve done is pay full tax on everything I’ve earned’(Ibid.).

Reality: The figures Ken Livingstone released omit hundreds of thousand pounds worth of income he channeled into a separate company – the actual rate of tax Ken Livingstone paid in 2010/11 could be as low as 14.5 per cent, so it is impossible for Londoners to judge whether he has paid ‘full tax’. The released figures do not show the thousands of pounds that went through his company, Silveta Ltd, which was set up to handle his personal earnings from ‘after-dinner speaking, TV stuff and all that’ (Daily Telegraph, 18 March 2012, link). The accounts from Companies House show that in 2010/11 he was earning £238,646. In this year, he claims to have paid only £34,661 in tax. As a percentage of earnings, this would be a tax rate of 14.5 per cent. This is lower than the basic rate of tax and lower than a City Hall cleaner pays (The Daily Telegraph, 11 March 2012, link).

False claim 2: Ken Livingstone claimed that bus fares went down by 9% in real terms when he was Mayor (BBC TV, Sunday Politics, 22 April 2012).

Reality: In fact official government figures from the Department for Transport show that bus fares went up by roughly 7 per cent during Ken Livingstone’s Mayoralty (DfT, Local Bus Fares Index by metropolitan area status and country, October 2010, link).

False claim 3: Ken Livingstone claimed that the Mayor can cut travelcard fares – a key plank of his claim that Londoners will save money – without the agreement of the train operating companies.

  • Tim Donovan: ….you need agreement from the train operating compnaies or the government, so how are you going to bring those down?
  • Ken Livingstone: Oh no, the Mayor sets the increase and the train operating companies have to follow that, that’s why -
  • TD: The Government needs to agree doesn’t it?
  • KL: No, no, the Government doesn’t have to agree. While I was Mayor I set the fares. I had to, by law, you have to increase tube fares in line with inflation. Year by year, except when we wanted the money to build the London Overground, that’s what I did. They went up just in line with inflation and the train companies have to be in line with that (BBC TV, Sunday Politics, 22 April 2012).

Reality: The agreement between TfL and the train companies (ATOC) clearly states that any price changes must have their agreement: ‘Changes in Travelcard prices (other than changes resulting from an alteration in the rate of VAT in force which is applicable to Travelcards) shall be determined by agreement between LRT and the ATOC Representative at least 120 days before such changes come into effect’ (TfL, Agreement between the Operators and London Regional Transport, 1995). If they cannot agree, then travelcard fares must rise by RPI: ‘If LRT and the ATOC Representative have not agreed changes in prices for any category of Period Travelcard or One-day Travelcard by the date which is 120 days before the anniversary of the previous change in prices for the relevant category of Period Travelcard or One-day Travelcard the price (exclusive of any applicable VAT) for such category shall, with effect from such anniversary, be increased by a percentage equal to the percentage increase in the Index of Retail Prices (All Items) during the 12-month period to such date’ (ibid.).

False claim 4: Ken Livingstone claimed that London has ‘the worst air quality in Europe’ (BBC TV, Sunday Politics, 22 April 2012).

Reality: According to the European Union cities including Paris, Basel and Zurich all have worse air quality than London (Air Quality in Europe Website, link).

BBC London Debate:

False claim 5:  Only 56 affordable housing starts last year (BBC London, 22 April 2012).

Reality:  The HCA data is misleading and Ken Livingstone knows this.  The London Development Database reports that there were 2,240 affordable starts over the same six month figures (April and September 2011).  The HCA were unable to record these homes on their system as they had not signed contracts with the developers (Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time, 3851/2011, 14 December 2011, link).

This is also confirmed by CLG whose data shows that from April to September there were 1,110 starts by Housing Associations and 260 by local authorities in London in Q2. There were 860 starts by housing associations and 40 by local authorities in London in Q3. Taken together, this gives a total of 2,270 (CLG, House Building Starts and Completions: England, link).  The discrepancy is because the CLG live tables are constantly revised, whereas the Mayoral answer was drafted in December 2011.

So it is completely incorrect to assert that there were only 56 affordable housing starts in London between April and September 2011. Both the GLA and CLG show this to be incorrect and that there were actually 2,240/2,270 affordable housing starts in London during this time period.

It should also be noted that when Boris came into office in 2007/08 there were 173,000 homes in the pipeline but only 42 per cent had been started.  Despite the extremely challenging economic circumstances, in 2010/11 there were 171,000 homes in the pipeline and 53 per cent had been started (Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time, 1005/2012, 14 March 2012, link).

False claim 6:  Ken Livingstone claimed that he would put a police officer in every secondary school in London (BBC London, 22 April 2012).

Reality:  Ken Livingstone’s own website still does not contain details of how he would pay for his policing pledge (Ken Livingstone Website, link).

Ken Livingstone’s planned scheme has also been criticised by headteacher’s union NAHT policy adviser Sion Humphreys who said the idea was ‘back to the future’ and ‘not radically new’ while adding ‘most schools have police liaison anyway ‘Metro, 2 April 2012, link).

False claim 7:  Ken Livingstone also claimed that over the past two years the MPS have lost 2,100 police officers (BBC London, 22 April 2012).

Reality:  Boris is putting more police on the streets across London at a time when budgets are being cut elsewhere. There will be 1,000 more police officers on the streets by May than there were in May 2008, leading to a cut in crime of 10.8 per cent whilst still cutting the Mayor’s share of council tax (GLA, The Mayor’s Consultation Budget, 22 December 2011, p.1, link; MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012. Comparing 45 months of Ken Livingstone (August 2004 – April 2008) with 45 months of Boris Johnson (May 2008 – January 2012). August 2004-April 2008 TNO was 3,486,028. In May 2008-January 2012 it was 3,110,245).

Ken Livingstone said he would deal with crime but violent crime, actual bodily harm and violence on buses all went up on his watch (Police 999, 22 January 2004, link; MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link; TfL, Crime and anti-social behaviour statistics bulletin Q1 07/08, Table 2.1, link; Ibid.Q1 08/09, Table 2.1, link). Boris has invested an extra £132 million in the Met. The Mayor’s 2011 Budget secured an extra £42 million for the Met and a recent £90 million from the Treasury has increased total additional investment to £132 million (GLA, Mayor’s Final Budget 2011-12, linkEvening Standard, 30 January 2012, link).


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