Press Release


Friday 20 April 2012

KEN LIVINGSTONE SKY NEWS DEBATE FALSE CLAIMS

During last night’s Sky News debate, Ken Livingstone continued his record of making false claims in this election. In an election about trust, Ken Livingstone made 6 claims during the one-hour debate which are not backed up by the facts.

False claim 1:  London has the worst air quality in Europe (Sky TV, 19 April 2012).

Truth:  According to the European Union cities including Krakow, Stockholm and Zurich all have worse air quality than London (Air Quality in Europe Website, link)

 

False claim 2:  Ken Livingstone claimed that he can cut fares by 7 per cent, using the surplus from TfL, without affecting investment (Sky TV, 19 April 2012).

The truth:  In his own words Ken Livingstone has admitted that the surpluses at TfL are already allocated. Speaking about claims that TfL had an unused surplus when he was Mayor he told the London Assembly; ‘There has been some fascinating speculation in the press that I have a £500 million slush fund that I can spend between now and the election.  You know me; if I had it I would, but I do not.  There is the small matter of the need for TfL to balance its budget in law, and the balances we carry are all allocated against the range of projects coming forward.  If I were to start spending TfL’s reserves I would have to remove wonderful projects like the West London Tram and other issues from our list of future projects.’ (Mayor’s Questions, 20 June 2007, link).

 

False claim 3:  Only 56 affordable housing starts last year (Sky TV, 19 April 2012).

Truth:The London Development Database reports that there were actually 2,240 affordable starts over the same six month figures (April and September 2011) (Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time, 3851/2011, 14 December 2011, link).

 

False claim 4:  Ken Livingstone pays 35 per cent tax (Sky TV, 19 April 2012).

Truth:  The figures Ken Livingstone released omit over hundreds of thousand pounds worth of income – the actual rate of tax Ken Livingstone paid in 2010/11 could be as low as 14.5 per cent. The released figures show the income that did not go through his own company Silveta. In fact, in 2010/11 he was earning £238,646. In this year, he paid £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 5:  Ken Livingstone has released his tax returns (Sky TV, 19 April 2012).

Truth:  Over two weeks after promising Londoners he would, he has still not put out all his earnings. The incomplete figures he did release were not from his accountant – they were put together by one of his cronies.  It has emerged that the spreadsheet that Ken Livingstone released with his tax details on was put together by one his former advisers, Mark Watts (Guido Fawkes Website, 5 April 2012, link).  Mark Watts was also named as one of the advisers who benefited from an average pay-off of £200,000 following Ken Livingstone losing office in 2008 (Daily Mail, 5 August 2008, link).

 

False claim 6:  Ken Livingstone will bring back EMA (Sky TV, 19 April 2012).

Truth:  The independent and authoritative Channel Four Fact Check blog has again concluded that Ken Livingstone’s claim is ‘fiction’.  The Blog states ‘Mr Livingstone does not have the power to automatically bring the EMA back to life’ (Channel Four Fact Check Website, 2 March 2012, link).

 

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