03 April 2012

Ken Livingstone is at it again…

On today’s LBC Mayoral debate, Ken Livingstone was at it again, telling more lies in a desperate attempt to get elected. Today alone, he told 12 lies.

The Mayoral election on 3rd May is about trust and Ken Livingstone has yet again shown that he simply cannot be trusted.

 

Lie 1: Ken Livingstone said he wouldn’t introduce a £25 congestion charge.

  • Reality: Last year he said he would introduce a £25 congestion charge. ‘Oh yes the £25 charge for gas guzzlers we’ll be straight back for that because we now know that at least 4000 people die a year prematurely because of our poor air quality’ (Scoop Website, 6 April 2011, link). 

 

Lie 2: Ken Livingstone said he wouldn’t extend the Western Extension Zone.

  • Reality: He promised the Labour Party he would. ‘I will reintroduce the Western Extension of the congestion charge’ (Ken Livingstone Candidacy Manifesto, 2010, link).

 

Lie 3: Ken Livingstone said he would restore EMA.

  • Reality: Independent sources say he doesn’t have the money. Channel 4’s Factcheck have independently coasted this proposal at £55 million a year. Ken Livingstone says he would get colleges, universities and local authorities to pay for this pledge but, as Channel 4’s Factcheck found, he has no power to force them to fund it and many have already flatly refused to pay for it (Channel 4 News, Factcheck: could Ken save the EMA in London, 2 March 2012, link). £55 million a year is £220 million over a four-year term.

 

Lie 4: Ken Livingstone claimed current police numbers were only at 31,128.

  • Reality: Official Met data shows there will be more than 32,000 by April. According to the Met, there are 209 new officers coming on board in April, bringing the total officer numbers to 32,468 – well over a thousand above the number Boris Johnson inherited.

 

Lie 5: Ken Livingstone said his fares policy would cost £269m over four years.

  • Reality: His own campaign document says it would cost £269m in the first year alone. ‘Ken’s Fare Deal costs £269mn in the first year’ (Ken Livingstone Campaign, How Ken can afford to cut fares, March 2012, link). 

 

Lie 6: Ken Livingstone said the days lost to strikes under his mayoralty decreased by 98%; “In the 8 years that I was mayor the number of days, shifts lost by strikes was cut by 98%”

  • Reality: There was no reduction in days of strikes. There were 2 days of strikes in 2001. There were 2 days of strikes in 2008. There was no reduction in the number of days of strikes (TfL Strike Data, 2000-2011).

 

Lie 7: Ken Livingstone claimed he paid income tax on everything he gets.

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone is a tax avoider. Ken Livingstone has vehemently attacked tax avoidance. He wrote in the Sun in 2009 about tax avoiders: ‘these rich bastards just don’t get it’ (The Sun, 12 Mach 2012, link). But while Mayor from 2000 – 2006, his income was paid into a shady private company:
    • Ken Livingstone owned a private business for most of his mayoralty. Ken Livingstone set up LocalAction Ltd in 1986, and did not dissolve it until 17 October 2006. It was open for six of the eight years he was mayor (Companies House website, accessed 8 March 2012).
    • Almost £221,000 was paid to Localaction in 21 months. He was paid £220,992 for speaking and other engagements between July 1998-February 2000, which was paid into his company Localaction (S&P Select Committee, Seventh Report Appendix, 8 March 2000, link).
    • He failed to declare this properly while an MP. John Jones MP lodged a formal complaint with the Standards and Privileges committee, which was upheld (S&P Select Committee, Seventh Report Appendix, 8 March 2000, link).
    • By paying himself through a company, he paid less tax. By paying money into a company, it came under corporation tax, 20 per cent in 2000, not the higher rate income tax, 40 per cent in 2000 (HMT archive, link).
    • He claimed this was only tax avoidance if he did not withdraw money. He denied tax avoidance because the money was taxed when it was paid to him from the company: ‘It is only a tax avoidance option provided you're not drawing the money out’ (Sunday Times, 23 January 2000).
    • In 2008, he set up a new company before he left office. Silveta Ltd was incorporated on 23 April 2008 (Daily Telegraph, 26 February 2012, link; Companies House website, accessed 8 March 2012, link).
    • Earnings of £320,000 have been paid into Silveta Ltd with almost nothing withdrawn. In 2009 and 2010 (only available years) he has drawn out barely any money from the company. By June 2010, the company had earned £320,000 (Daily Telegraph, 26 February 2012, link).
    • By his own definition, he is avoiding up tax. In 2000, he said: ‘It is only a tax avoidance option provided you're not drawing the money out’. Ken Livingstone has avoided around £50,000 tax (Daily Telegraph, 29 February 2012, link; Sunday Times, 23 January 2000). 

 

Lie 8: Ken Livingstone claimed that in his last year as Mayor 43% of housing built was affordable.

  • Reality: In his last year the proportion of affordable housing was just 33%. In the last report monitoring affordable housing builds before Ken Livingstone left office the proportion of completions which were affordable had fallen to 33 per cent (GLA, London Plan Annual Monitoring Report, 4, February 2008, p. 9, link) 

 

Lie 9: Ken Livingstone claimed there would be no increase in the congestion charge.

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone broke his promise before on this and will again. Ken Livingstone in 2003 promised that the Congestion Charge would not be increased for ten years (BBC News Online, 25 February 2003,link). However, just two years later in 2005 he increased it by 60 per cent, from £5 to £8 in 2005 (BBC News Online, 1 April 2005, link).
    • We know this because Ken Livingstone is in a pre-election pact with the Green Party, who want to increase congestion charging. Ken Livingstone and the Green Party Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones have formed a pre-election pact. They are both recommending to their members that they give their second preference votes to each other:
  • Ken Livingstone says Jenny Jones will be a ‘key part’ in his administration. Livingstone has said “...if I am elected, Jenny Jones will be a key part in my administration” (Mayor Watch Website, 24 March 2012, link).
  • Jenny Jones wants to introduce a new congestion charge. Jenny Jones let slip in an interview with LBC what the true impact of the Labour/Green pact on Londoners will be. When asked whether she would reintroduce the Western Extension, she said: ‘Oh no, we are absolutely not going to do that. We’ve got a much better scheme that we are going to bring in over the four years of the next Mayoralty. And that is a Pay As You Go for drivers, for car users, well for all vehicle users. And this can raise over £1 billion a year’ (LBC, Iain Dale Show, 15 February 2012).
  • She would raise the congestion to £40. Jenny Jones admitted on the Sunday Politics Show that she would only look to introduce the Pay As You Go scheme after the first three years of the Mayoralty. Up until then, she will look to raise the congestion charge to £15 for smaller cars and £40 for larger family cars (BBC TV, Sunday Politics Show, 1 April 2012).

 

Lie 10: Ken Livingstone claimed his expenses as mayor were ‘miniscule.’

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone claimed £66,000 on the City Hall credit card. This included £256 for a pair of shoes, more than £6,000 on alcohol, £6,404 on 1st class flights to Florida and £466 for dinner with a Cuban translator (Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time, 0761/2012 Appendix K, 22 February 2012, link; Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time – Written Answers, 1084/2012, 14 March 2012, link; Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time – Written Answers,  1085/2012, 14 March 2012, link; Mail on Sunday, 1 April 2012).

 

Lie 11: Ken Livingstone claimed he only had four lunches a year as mayor.

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone's corporate credit card receipts show that he had 47 lunches or dinners in his last four years as Mayor - almost an average of one a month (Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time, 0761/2012 Appendix K, 22 February 2012, link; Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time – Written Answers, 1084/2012, 14 March 2012, link; Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time – Written Answers,  1085/2012, 14 March 2012, link).

 

Lie 12: Ken Livingstone claimed TfL had a £830 million surplus.

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone keeps changing the amount of the ‘surplus’ he says will fund his fare cut. First he said the money could be funded from a £729 million surplus (Ken Livingstone Campaign, Fare Deal Factsheet, link). Then he said it could be funded by a surplus of £206 million (Ken Livingstone Campaign, Press Release, 5 December 2011, link). Then he said it would be funded with a surplus of £338 million (Ken Livingstone Campaign, Press Release, 2 February 2012, link). Now he says the surplus is £727 million (Ken Livingstone Campaign, How Ken can afford to cut fares, March 2012, link). Now on LBC on 3 April he said the surplus was £830 million (LBC Radio, 3 April 2012).
  • Independent factcheckers confirm Ken Livingstone’s plan will take more than £1 billion out of the transport budget.  Channel 4 Factcheck states: ‘TfL argues that if Mr Livingstone was to cut fares by 7 per cent, the move would reduce the income from fares by £1.12bn over this parliament’ (Channel 4, Factcheck Blog, 24 January 2012, link).

Comments

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Posted by Anonymous at 03 April 2012, 12:53

Brilliant expose (where’s an acute when you need one?!) Keep it up!


Posted by Anonymous at 03 April 2012, 07:44

Heaven forbid that this ghastly man should ever hold public office again.

Save us please Boris.