Forget Sugar, listen to Adonis – a man who knows a thing about transport


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Labour peer Lord Sugar, taking time out from winding up Piers Morgan, today Tweeted his opposition to Labour’s London Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone, saying he “must NOT get in on 3rd May”. As expected, Sugar’s comments have made waves on the news and in the blogs; equally predictably, talk of policy, as ever during this race, has struggled to get a look in.

Take transport, for example, one of the key battlegrounds in the contest. In yesterday’s Evening Standard, Lord Adonis, the former transport secretary and, like Sugar, a Labour peer, praised Livingstone’s legacy from his first stint in City Hall and said his ‘Fare Deal’ fares cut plan – under fire like no other from the right – was economically sound.

Lord-Sugar-Lord-Adonis
Adonis wrote:

London would not be hosting the Olympics in 100 days had we not invested in its transport system. With the mayoral campaign dominated by the row over whether we have to choose between investment or cutting fares, Londoners should recall who is really responsible for the current improvements: Ken Livingstone.

Boris Johnson says we must choose between a £1,000 fare cut over four years, proposed by Ken, and the end of TfL’s investment programme. Yesterday, leaked Transport for London emails even claimed Ken’s proposal would cause a cash crunch in 2015. But this is a false choice.

Passenger numbers are accelerating faster than forecasted. The Tube had its busiest day ever on December 9 last year, with 4.17 million journeys, seven per cent higher than the same day in 2010. Ken’s seven per cent fares cut simply returns part of London Transport’s projected surplus for the next four years to Londoners while protecting planned investment.

Adding:

After analysing Transport for London’s accounts and projections, I firmly believe Ken’s proposed fare cut is both justified and entirely compatible with essential infrastructure investment. Crossrail and other planned investments will still proceed. TfL’s capital budget has been underspent by £1.2 billion over the past four years. The challenge is to get investment under way fast enough. Stronger leadership is essential.

Fares have gone up year on year far ahead of inflation. Ken’s proposed cut would cost approximately £270 million a year, against far higher projected surpluses over the next three years. Cutting fares will also put £1.1 billion back into the London economy.

Over the years, Ken has called all the big transport issues right. He was right to invest in buses and the Tube, to introduce the congestion charge and Oyster card, and to launch Crossrail and London Overground. And he’s right this time about a fare cut and new investment in our transport network.

 


See also:

Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify 13 Apr 2012

Boris and Ken clash over tax dodge claims 3 Apr 2012

Ken vows to “ease the squeeze”, saying Boris has “betrayed” Londoners 14 Mar 2012

Pound for Pound, you’re better off with Ken 13 Mar 2012

Boris’s 9-point plan is a bridge to nowhere 5 Mar 2012


 

Elsewhere, the Sack Boris campaign last night released a video highlighting Boris’s broken promises, namely:

Police numbers: “Under this mayoralty there will be no cuts in the police” – 2,132 fewer police officers since March 2010

Crime: “I’m delighted to say crime is down… crime is well down in London” – Knife crime up 13.6%

Congestion charge: “I will certainly not allow the congestion charge to go up” – Up 25%

Housing: “We will have built 50,000 affordable homes by May next year” – Only 56 affordable homes started between April and September

Transport fares: “I think we can do it [scrapping bendy buses and bringing back Routemasters] and we can do it without, certainly without increasing fares for Londoners” – Week bus pass up 47 per cent

Watch it:

Tonight at 8:00, the candidates square off in the Sky News debate - just two weeks out from polling day.

 


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  • john problem

    Adonis and Sugar – begins to sound like some colony of the old gods up on Olympus. And about as rational.

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  • Anonymous

    Adonis know’s nothing about cost.

    There is no financial justification that means that the ticket revenue will meet the cost of HS2. It won’t even get close.

    So people who don’t benefit will be forced to pay for the benefit of the minority of those that do.

    Nice if you’re an MP, not if you’re a pleb living in Cornwall paying for it all.

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  • Anonymous

    Ah yes, the unrelated whining. Something there you don’t like then.

  • Senorviva

    Fair point re Sugar but I think we should be careful about the Sack Boris video. To take Boris’s “crime down” and counter with knife crime up is blatently disingenuous! Damages the message as a result. Also doesn’t address WHY bus fares increased. Is really all to do with the expensive new bus or other factors. This site is usually a haven for reasoned debate and I’m disappointed to see a blind eye being turned to partisan, factually inaccurate messages

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  • Mr. Sensible

    Boris, you’re fired!

  • Ed’s Talking Balls

    Oh, you’re getting desperate now!

  • Anonymous

    Yea, can’t have none of them durn facts!

    The fare rises in particular are hurting poor workers, but you don’t care about that of course.

  • Anonymous

    Yea, can’t have none of them durn facts!

    The fare rises in particular are hurting poor workers, but you don’t care about that of course.

  • http://twitter.com/worstall Tim Worstall

    That 56 affordable houses one is a bit weird. That’s the number of local council starts. It’s ignoring the number of housing association starts. And yes, housing association starts are indeed both often “affordable” and at least an order of magnitude greater than local council ones.

    Have your boys been looking at the wrong cell in the ONS table of statisitics?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, now they are. Because of government policy to force “social” rents to levels which the poor can’t afford anyway on housing benefit, making it *pointless* to build council housing.

    The resultant building levels are predictable. Thanks for that attack on the poor.

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