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

04 April 2012

Fact Check: Ken Livingstone's Crime Manifesto

Ken Livingstone launched his crime manifesto today, but yet again he is making false claims and empty promises.

And despite his claim not to be engaging in negative campaigning, his manifesto mentions Boris Johnson 17 times in a 19-page document.

Ken Livingstone’s latest false claims on crime:

  • Police numbers. Despite Ken Livingstone claims about cuts, official Met data shows there will be 1,000 more police officers on the beat than Boris Johnson inherited. 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 31,398 Boris inherited.
  • Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Ken Livingstone claims that Boris has cut the number of officers in Safer Neighbourhood Teams (Ken Livingstone campaign, Press Release, 4 April 2012). However, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that there has not been a reduction in the number of PCs and PCSOs within Safer Neighbourhood Teams (MPS Website, ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’, link).
  • Crime rates. Crime is coming down under Boris:
    • Total crime has been cut by 10.8 per cent (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012). Comparing 45 months of Ken Livingstone (Aug 04 – Apr 08) with 45 months of Boris Johnson (May 08 – Jan 12).
    • Robberies are down 16.3 per cent (ibid.).
    • Murders are down by 25.9 per cent (ibid.).
    • Youth violence is down by 13.8 per cent since 2008 (MOPC Statistics).
    • Bus crime is down by 32.9 per cent (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012, 45 month comparison).
    • Violence on buses is down by 21 per cent (TfL, Crime and Anti Social Behaviour Statistical Bulletin, Q2 11/12, Table 2.1, link).
    • Tube crime is down by 20 per cent (TfL, Press Release, 21 February 2011, link).
  • Knife crime.  Ken Livingstone claims that knife crime has risen every year for the past three years (Ken Livingstone, Crime Manifesto, link). In fact, across London knife crime fell by 1.2 per cent in 2009/10 (MPS, Annual Report 2008/09, p. 23, link; MPS Website, link).

 

Ken Livingstone’s previous false claims on crime:

Ken Livingstone’s claim:  Ken Livingstone claimed that crime has ‘sort of flatlined’ under Boris Johnson (BBC TV, London News, 4 January 2012, link).

The truth:  Using a direct comparison with Ken Livingstone’s period in office, crime has fallen by 10.8 per cent under Boris Johnson (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012, link. Comparing 45 months of Ken Livingstone (August 2004 – April 2008) with 45 months of Boris Johnson (May 2008 – January 2012)..  From August 2004 to April 2008 there were 3,486,028 offences reported in London.  Between May 2008 and January 2012 there were 3,110,245 offences reported – a fall of 10.8 per cent).

 

Ken Livingstone claim: In the last year there has been an 8 per cent increase in murders (Ken Livingstone, BBC London, 26 March 2012). 

The truth:  Taking a rolling 12 month period, murder is down by 24.1 per cent in the 12 months to February 2012 when compared to the 12 months previously (Metropolitan Police Website, ‘Latest Crime Figures for London’, link; Metropolitan Police Website, ‘Crime Mapping: Data Tables’, link).

 

Ken Livingstone is making promises on police he knows he cannot keep

Safer Neighbourhood Teams – every team or just some?

  • Ken Livingstone won’t say whether these will be PCs or PCSOs or whether he will boost every Safer Neighbourhood Team. He just says ‘more’ SNTs will be increased to 9 officers (Ken Livingstone, Crime Manifesto, p.7). 
  • By contrast Boris has said how he will to boost every Safer Neighbourhood Team with 2,000 more police, including up to 3 more police officers per team. If re-elected, Boris Johnson will work with the Commissioner to deliver a massive boost to Safer Neighbourhood Teams, with an additional 2,000 police, including adding up to three police officers, to every team. Each team will also get three Special Constables to further boost police presence in our neighbourhoods (Boris Johnson, Crime Manifesto, 2 April 2012).

 

1,700 more police officers – where’s the money coming from?

Ken Livingstone fails to explain how he will fund the extra officers. He says he will:

  • Make TfL pay the full cost of the Safer Transport Command – but they already do. ‘Ensure that Transport for London pays the full cost of the Safer Transport Command (£80 million over the Mayoral term)’ (ibid.). But The Safer Transport Command is already fully funded by TfL (MPA, Finance and Resources Committee: Report 9, 17 June 2010, link).
  • Make efficiencies at Scotland Yard, such as cutting first class travel – but Ken Livingstone charged City Hall £66,000 in expenses when he was mayor. ‘Work with the Commissioner to ensure that all possible efficiencies are found at Scotland Yard, including non- essential spending on such things as chauffeur driven cars and first-class travel’ (Ken Livingstone campaign, Press Release, 4 April 2012). Ken Livingstone charged City Hall £66,000 in expenses when he was mayor, including £6,404 on 1st class flights to Florida (Mail on Sunday, 1 April 2012).

 

Ken Livingstone’s record on crime 

  • Under Ken Livingstone violent crime increased. Violent crime in London went up 11.2 per cent between 2000/01 and 2007/08 (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone drug crime more than doubled. Drug crime in London increased by 201.6 per cent between 2000/01 and 2007/08 (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone actual bodily harm almost doubled. Cases of ABH in London increased by 30,641 between 2000/01 and 2007/08, a rise of 84 per cent (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone harassment almost doubled. Cases of Harassment in London increased by 20,909 between 2000/01 and 2007/08, a rise of 88.9 per cent (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone Tube crime increased. Between 2001/02 and 2007/08 public disorder offences increase by 521 per cent, violent crime was up by 56 per cent and drug crime was up by 128 per cent (British Transport Police, Statistical Bulletin 2002/03 – 2007/08, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone bus crime increased. The London Assembly Transport Committee found at the beginning of 2008 that overall crime on buses had increased by over 17 per cent between 2004/05 and 2005/06 (London Assembly Transport Committee, Crime and Disorder on London’s Buses, January 2008, p.8, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone violence on buses increased by 9%. At the start of his second term in 04/05 violence against the person stood at 7,712 offences (Transport for London, Crime and anti social behaviour statistics bulletin Q1 07/08, Table 2.1, link). By the end of his second term in 07/08 violence against the person stood at 8,400 offences; a rise of 9% (Ibid. Q1 08/09, Table 2.1, link).

Categories: Campaign Updates, crime | Tags: Crime, Ken livingstone, Manifesto

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).

Categories: Campaign Updates | Tags: Ken livingstone, Lies

03 April 2012

The truth about tax

On today's LBC debate, Ken Livingstone repeated false claims first made by Ed Miliband that Boris used a "similar scheme" to that used by Ken Livingstone in order to avoid paying his fair share of tax.  After Miliband initially made the completely unfounded claim, Boris was asked by blogger Guido Fawkes for a response.  We've posted that response below to ensure voters are absolutely clear on the facts:

 

Dear Guido,

You have asked about my business affairs and tax arrangements. Specifically do I have any company or other arrangements constructed to enable me to pay less tax and do I, as has been claimed by the Labour Mayoral candidate and the Opposition Leader, have the same arrangements as Labour’s Mayoral candidate.

The answer is simple and unequivocal in both cases. No.

My salary as Mayor is taxed as an employee of the GLA. In the same way as when I was an MP my salary was taxed as an employee. Any other income that I have received from outside endeavours has been received on a self-employed basis, to me as an individual (no company or other structure has been involved). No income earned by me has ever been paid to a “service” company, through which a person or person’s freelance earnings can be channeled so that they pay corporation rather than income tax.

To suggest otherwise is a complete and utter fabrication.

Of course the real point is not about my tax arrangements. It is about the hypocrisy of a man who for years has railed against those who use special arrangements to reduce their tax and who has then been caught – bang to rights – doing the very same thing himself.

Boris Johnson

 

Categories: Campaign Updates | Tags: Boris johnson, Ken livingstone, Tax

16 June 2011

Young activists highlight Ken's union links

Last night twelve of us young Boris Backers took to the streets outside Labour Campaign HQ, where Ken Livingstone and Ed Miliband were meeting, to distribute leaflets outlining Ken Livingstone’s abysmal record and his links to the RMT and Trade Union movement.

In just an hour, hundreds leaflets were distributed, both to Labour activists and the general public, and many were surprised to hear about Ken Livingstone’s poor record on council tax – increasing it by 153%, and disturbed to hear about his close connections to Bob Crow, RMT boss and strike fanatic, who last week offered to fund the Labour candidate’s campaign.

Read More »

Categories: Campaign Updates, London | Tags: Bob crow, Campaigning, Ed miliband, Ken livingstone, Rmt, Unions