By Stephen Pound MP (Labour, Ealing North)
I’ve just launched a video explaining how Ken Livingstone’s Fare Deal works, and how it can save London’s farepayers £1,000 on average. We have made the video as accessible as possible. We’ve also tried to make it as entertaining as possible – but viewers will be the judge of that.
While the video is designed to be engaging, the issue is a serious one. Londoners are struggling with the effects of the deepest recession since the 1930s and the effects of Tory policies which have seen real living standards decline.
The Tory mayor has made matters worse, adding more pressure on Londoners’ household budgets. He has hiked up fares by a whopping 25% or more over fpur years and increased the price of a single bus fare by 50%! These fare increases are wholly unnecessary.
TfL finances show that there was a surplus on the operating budget in the last financial year of £727 million (page 19, pdf).
With three months to go, they have already racked up another surplus in the current financial year of £310m, which they say is on course to be even bigger by year-end (page 20, pdf). This is even after the cuts programme imposed on Transport for London (TfL) by George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review (pdf), and meekly accepted by Boris Johnson.
To put these £1bn-plus surpluses in perspective, Ken’s Fare Deal pledges to cut fares overall by 7%. The fares income for this year is going to be more than £3.5 billion (page 20, pdf). Seven per cent of total fares this year is just £247m. Or put another way, the surplus last year was 24% of the expected fares income and, with three months to go, it is already 9% of the budgeted fares income, and will go higher.
Ken’s Fare Deal is easily affordable from the TfL operating surplus. It won’t affect any other item of the budget, reserves, borrowing or investment.
• Boris is doing Londoners out of £1.2 billion a year 3 Feb 2012
• Fact Check fact checked: London’s fares CAN be cut 25 Jan 2012
Sometimes people ask me how Ken can afford to cut fares and Boris Johnson hasn’t. Surely, they say, a wily operator like the Tory Mayor would have used this same policy to get re-elected. He probably would have done – if he’d known it was there.
But as one he was recently quoted as saying, Boris Johnson was not even sure he wanted to be re-elected if it meant him having to “endure another four years of boring meetings with TfL”.
Boris Johnson is a Tory mayor who is completely out of touch with ordinary Londoners and the pressures on their day to day lives. Ken Livingstone stands up for their interests, and will do the detailed work to make London a fairer place to live.
Beyond all the jokes, this is a ultimately a serious election. Do you want a Mayor who will stand up for you, and make you £1,000 better off over four years? Or do you want to a Mayor who imposes four more years of inflation-busting fare increases? As Ed Miliband rightly said last week, this election is a referendum on fares.