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March 10, 2008


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Phil Taylor

The Mayor's own manifesto makes Crossrail out to be some kind of high wire act:

"But this huge investment requires an administration competent to deliver real improvements on a scale that will transform our transport system for the better, for if a scheme such as Crossrail were to go wrong the cost to Londoners in terms of increases in fares and business rates would be disastrous."

But who negotiated Crossrail as it stands? Livingstone. He keeps telling us that he has limited our liability in respect of the Olympics. Great! He says we will only "pay 38 pence towards the cost of the Olympics and not a penny more". But where is the limit of liability for Crossrail? Why does the London precept payer have to bear the risk for this piece of national infrastructure? In trying to highlight an area where competence is required from the London Mayor he has unwittingly highlighted his own failings in respect of driving a decent bargain for London in his negotiation with central government.

Similarly, our Labour Mayor does not complain about the poor settlement that London gets from our Labour government. London's annual contribution to the exchequer is £17.8 billion.

So London is bearing all the risk for Crossrail and is sending the value of Crossrail every year to Gordon Brown to spend in other parts of the country. Competent - I don't think so Mr Livingstone.

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