17 April 2012

Farepayers worse off under Ken

Today's Times reports that leaked Transport for London emails warn 'Ken Livingstone’s pledge to cut and then freeze bus, Tube and rail fares will cause Transport for London to “run out of cash” within three years.'

The figures show that Mr Livingstone would have to increase fares by a massive RPI +38% in 2015 to maintain the current investment if he ever went ahead with his transport policy of cutting fares in the short term, leaving Londoners up to £750 worse off under his dangerous and reckless transport plans.

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Categories: Campaign Updates, London, transport | Tags: Fares, Investment, Ken livingstone

10 April 2012

Watch: My Party Election Broadcast

By Boris Johnson

It is an honour to be Mayor of London and in every conversation I have with Londoners I feel a huge sense of responsibility.

Especially now, when times are tough, it is vital that we have a Mayor that works to get the best possible deal for Londoners and this city.

Over the last four years I’ve been getting on with my plan to turn things around because this is the most important job I’ll ever do.

It’s a job that is nobody’s by right. And I’d like to tell you why I am seeking the job again.

As I told those gathered this morning for the official launch of my campaign for re-election, the stakes in this election are high – Britain has been brought to the brink of bankruptcy, and Londoners have been going through some of the toughest times that we can remember.

And the choice on 3rd May is very clear – between lurching back to the high-taxing, discredited and divisive approach of my predecessor, or going forward with four more years of sensible, responsible and cost-effective government in London.

Please take a few minutes and be one of the first to watch my Party Election Broadcast, setting out why I'm seeking the job of Mayor again: http://youtu.be/LmONVlMkCbU

At this critical election vote for me, Boris Johnson, and the Conservatives on Thursday the 3rd of May.

Categories: Campaign Updates, crime, economy, Fighting London's corner, London, quality of life, transport | Tags: 9 point plan, Back boris, Boris johnson, Crime, Investment, London, Peb, Transport

10 April 2012

Boris speech marks official campaign launch

This morning marked the official launch of my campaign for re-election. I delivered a speech to a packed house in Richmond and wanted to share it with you:

Good morning and thanks for coming.

This election is being fought when Britain has been brought to the brink of bankruptcy. When Londoners have been going through some of the toughest times that we can remember and when the choice is between going back to the high tax, high spending creed of a bunch of taxpayer funded, Châteauneuf-du-Pape swilling, Outer London ignoring, car hating, semi-reformed Trotsyisksts and bendy bus fetishists whose approach to Government helped to get this country into this economic mess;

Or going forward with sensible, moderate and cost-effective government that invests in our future. That creates the conditions for business to grow. And that delivers on its promises.

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Categories: Campaign Updates, crime, economy, Fighting London's corner, housing, jobs and skills, London, Olympics, quality of life, sport, transport, youth | Tags: 9 point plan, Apprenticeships, Boris johnson, Campaign, Crime, Housing, London, Olympics, Transport

05 April 2012

TfL Board Members Dispute Ken's Fares Claims

Today, Transport for London board member and former Minister for Transport in London Steve Norris wrote a letter to the Telegraph disputing Ken Livingstone's claim that he can cut fares without harming investment and services.

Saying that it's time for a "reality check" on Ken's claims, Norris writes that "It is disingenuous to claim that [cutting fares] would not have dire consequences for London’s public transport."

Read the full copy of Norris's letter below, which was originally published in the Telegraph here (scroll halfway down the letters page).

SIR – Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, can fight his own battles, but when I hear my old adversary Ken Livingstone, the Labour mayoral candidate, claiming he could slash fares in London without it having an effect on service levels or investment, it is time for a reality check.

As a former Minister for Transport in London (1992 to 1996) and a member of the Transport for London (TfL) board, I have scrutinised the accounts of London transport for the past 20 years. There is not, nor ever has been, a hidden pot of gold that could fund major fare cuts painlessly. The claim that there is a £727 million surplus to dip into has been comprehensively debunked by Channel 4’s FactCheck.

The cash sitting on TfL’s balance sheet is there to fund Crossrail. To maintain services and planned investment, TfL has taken substantial cost-saving measures, with a significant reduction in its headcount over the past four years.

TfL is a much tighter ship than it was under the previous mayor and every penny it takes in is earmarked to run the system, catch up on decades of under-investment and provide services for London’s rising population. The Mayor, not TfL, sets London’s fares. Cutting them would be a political choice. It is disingenuous to claim that it would not have dire consequences for London’s public transport.

Steve Norris
Conservative London mayoral candidate in 2000 and 2004
London SW1

UPDATE: 6 April 2012

A second Transport for London Board member has written disputing Ken Livingstone's claim that he can cut fares without damaging services or investment.

Read Eva Lindholm's full letter to the Guardian below (scroll to the second letter):

During the current London mayoral campaign, a claim has been made that public transport fares could be cut significantly, and that such a cut would neither trigger a reduction in services nor a cut to TfL's programme of investment, such as upgrading the tube and building Crossrail.

As a member of TfL's board, I would like to underscore that there is no pool of idle surplus funds at TfL that could be used to neutralise the impact of a major fares cut. The claim that there is a £727m surplus that could be used for such a purpose has been disproved by Channel 4's FactCheck. The cash currently lodged on TfL's balance sheet has in fact been raised through Treasury-approved borrowing specifically to pre-fund TfL's contractual commitments to the construction of Crossrail and other budgeted items.

To ensure its ability to finance London's current transport services as well as catch up on decades of underinvestment the system, TfL has implemented a rigorous series of cost-saving measures during the past four years. These measures, which feature a significant headcount reduction, have left no possibility for the accumulation of a large pool of unallocated funds. Therefore no Londoner should be under the impression that fare cuts could be implemented without negative consequences for TfL's finances and for the current and future state of public transport spending in London.

Eva K Lindholm
TfL board member

UPDATE: 9 April 2012

A third Transport for London Board member has now written to dispute the claim made by Ken Livingstone that he can fund a fares cut without putting investment or services at risk.

Read Charles Garnett's full to the Independent below (scroll to the 8th letter):

TfL cannot afford to reduce fares

As a member of the TfL Board for the past five years, I have seen the real benefit that London is starting to get from the long-overdue, significant investment in the Tube, under both Mayors. We cannot afford to put future investment at risk by cutting London's fares, which are set by the Mayor rather than TfL, when there is still so much to be done for the Tube and the recently commenced Crossrail.

The money from fares, in spite of all the recent cost-cutting by the Tube, is essential to help fund the investment London needs. Unfortunately, there are no reserves in TfL's finances that can both cut fares and maintain the Tube investment programme.

Christopher Garnett
London SW15

Categories: Campaign Updates, transport | Tags: Fares, Ken livingstone, Tfl, Transport

26 March 2012

My Transport Manifesto

Today I am launching my transport manifesto. It's a critical part of my 9 point plan for a Greater London.

A world class city should have a world class transport system that is safe, efficient, economical and reliable. A transport system that uses modern technology to meet the changing needs of Londoners and to guarantee long term sustainable lower fares.

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Categories: Campaign Updates, London, transport | Tags: Boris bikes, Boris johnson, Buses, Congestion, Crossrail, Cycle hire, Freedom pass, Investment, Manifesto, Rail, Roadworks, Suburban rail, Transport, Tube, Unions

23 March 2012

Which? hails Boris’s rail investment

A rail passenger survey by Which? Magazine shows that London Overground has been voted the most improved commuter company, a ringing endorsement of Boris Johnson’s management of and investment in the line. Southeastern railway, which the Mayor proposes to takeover with his plans for suburban rail, came bottom of the table – showing how needed his improvements are.

The results come on the day Boris visited Clapham Junction, which would benefit from his plans for extending London's first orbital rail network. This independent survey is also a boost for point 8 of Boris’s 9 point plan for Greater London: reducing tube delays by 30% by 2015, building Crossrail and an orbital rail to link our suburbs, and extending the bike hire scheme.

The survey results come just days after the Budget which revealed how Boris Johnson is on track to secure vital improvements to suburban rail services, including longer trains and upgraded stations, following successful negotiations with Government. This clearly demonstrates that Boris Johnson is the only candidate in this election who can deliver a better deal for London from No 10 – point 9 of his 9 point plan.

Boris Johnson said: “This survey is conclusive proof that Londoners are benefitting from our plans for extending the overground, and creating London’s first orbital rail network.

“This is another boost after the Chancellor recognised the competent and cost effective government at City Hall and that Ken Livingstone's era of waste and mismanagement is over.”

Categories: Campaign Updates, London, transport | Tags: Clapham junction, Orbital rail, Overground, Rail, Southeastern, Suburban rail, Which?

22 March 2012

A Budget for London's commuters

Boris Johnson was at Wimbledon station today discussing vital improvements to suburban rail services, including longer trains and upgraded stations.

The Mayor is on track to secure these improvements – foreshadowed in yesterday’s Budget – following successful negotiations with Government.

The Budget backed Boris’s long-term plan to improve suburban rail services for the millions of the capital’s commuters who rely on them, by helping to deliver longer trains on key commuter routes and increased capacity at suburban rail stations.

Point 9 of Boris’s 9 point plan for Greater London is pledging to secure a better deal from Number 10 and this Budget demonstrates he’s the best candidate to lobby –and deliver – for Londoners.

Boris Johnson said: “Millions of Londoners rely on suburban rail services every day and they will attest that the service does not always meet expectation.

“By working constructively with Government we secured £22billion to upgrade the Tube and build Crossrail, despite the tough economic conditions, and that vital investment is already having an impact on cutting delays, speeding up Londoners’ daily journeys and growing London’s economy.

“Yesterday’s announcement means we are now on track to secure the investment which will transform suburban rail service, including longer trains and upgraded stations, and I look forward to working constructively with Government to deliver those improvements.”

The new commitments build on Boris Johnson’s success in securing £22 billion to invest in London's transport, including funding for Crossrail and the Tube upgrades.

Categories: Campaign Updates, London, transport | Tags: 9 point plan, Budget, Commuting, Point 9, Rail, Suburban rail

21 March 2012

This Budget backs London

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Budget to the House of Commons.

This is a Budget for jobs, growth and investment. It will make London more competitive and more attractive to business.

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Budget to the House of Commons.

This is a Budget for jobs, growth and investment. It will make London more competitive and more attractive to business.

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Categories: Campaign Updates, economy, jobs and skills, London, quality of life, transport, youth | Tags: 9 point plan, Budget, Infrastructure, Investment, Jobs, Rail, Skills, Suburban rail

16 March 2012

Green light for London lane rental

Boris Johnson has won another battle in his war on disruptive roadworks, as the Department for Transport today confirmed London will be the first city in the UK that can charge utility companies for the amount of time they dig up roads.

The Mayor successfully lobbied Government for the introduction of lane rental as part of his longer-term strategy for improving roadworks management to increase coordination amongst organisations and free the streets from unnecessary disruption.

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Categories: Campaign Updates, economy, London, transport | Tags: Business, Lane rental, Roadworks, Transport

14 March 2012

Reporting back to Londoners

In the coming weeks I will be setting out my manifesto commitments for taking this great city forward over the next four years.

And I want my promises to be judged by the determination and success with which I fulfilled the promises I made to Londoners in 2008.

The last four years have been a long road, but despite the toughest financial times in a generation, we have a strong record of delivering for London.

I am proud of what we have achieved, which is why I am publishing a Progress Report on my 2008 manifesto commitments.

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Categories: Campaign Updates, crime, economy, environment, Fighting London's corner, housing, jobs and skills, London, Olympics, quality of life, sport, transport, youth | Tags: 2008, Manifesto, Progress report, Promises delivered

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