Boris Johnson used this phrase during his Mayoral bid launch at the start of September to describe the Mayor’s Venezuelan joint venture with the totalitarian Chavez regime. I wrote to the Mayor on 24th August to ask him a few questions about this as it clearly does not add up, see previous posting.
His response, sent by flunky Kevin Austin, says that TfL will get Â£15 million from the Venezuelans which will broadly cover the cost of the half price concession (if you accept TfL’s estimate that only 160,000 of the 250,000 entitled to the concession will take it up and that their additional travel will also partly offset the cost).
The Mayor’s office will only admit to direct costs of Â£16,000 associated with supplying services under this scheme – travel costs incurred by a TfL transport team in June. The Mayor wants us to believe that TfL has made no estimate for the cost of providing Â£15 million worth of services per annum. I asked for this and my request has been ignored.
The Mayor does admit to another million Pound ad budget of Â£975K for this deal. The Mayor tries to persuade us that this will be paid for by the Venezuelans but their money can only be spent once. It can’t ofset the cost of the concession AND pay for the ads. One or the other Mr Mayor.
This deal stinks. The oil money, which might better be spent on needy Venezuelans, will pay for the travel concession if you make some favourable assumptions maybe. It will not cover the Â£975K ad budget, other administration costs of the scheme, the cost of providing services to justify the Venezuelans Â£15 million spend or the original Â£100K set up costs. The real net cost of this deal to London is in the area of Â£5-10 million. Our lying Mayor will not admit this.