The Mayor and TfL have overachieved again. They have spent more, obfuscated more and spun more. I am talking about the Tour de France Grand Depart.
TfL have now written to confirm the overall bill for this boondoggle – Â£10.5 million. Their letter was dated 30th November but got lost in my in tray for a couple of weeks whilst we coped with the arrival of a new baby. It was a reply to my letter of 16th October. Six weeks to put the line items from a set of project accounts in a letter.
You can only assume that this response took so long because the contents were not very attractive. Funny how they lost my original letter of 2nd August too. I also wrote for the third time and telephoned on 29th November and they finally put pen to paper the next day. Whew!
The Â£10.5 million owned up to now stands in stark contrast to the Â£3.8 million figure, bad enough in itself, given by TfL to the Evening Standard. It is clear that TfL comprehensively duped Ross Lydall of the Evening Standard in November, see previous posting. TfL issued a press release on 28th November highlighting the supposed benefits of the Grand Depart. The same day this article appeared in the Standard saying:
TfL spent Â£3.8 million hosting the event as part of its efforts to increase cycling in London.
Clearly Lydall had seen the press release and asked how much it had all cost. TfL responded that it cost us Â£3.8 million. Indeed in their letter to me they contend that the NET cost to TfL was in fact Â£3.815 million. This is an outrageous falsehood.
Firstly, it ignores the fact that TfL spent Â£3 million over 2 years advertising this event. In their letter TfL disingenuously tries to separate this spending from the actual event saying: “This is work that TfL would have undertaken anyway”. As you can see from the graphic top right the advertising, which included TV commercials would you believe, is clearly focussed on promoting the Tour De France Grand Depart and has absolutely nothing to do with promoting cycling for recreation or as an alternate means of commuting.
Secondly it ignores the Â£2.4 million contribution from the LDA which any savvy Londoner would not really distinguish from spending by TfL and consider it all a part of the Mayoral pot. They would be right.
To be fair not all of the Â£10.5 million comes from GLA family bodies. All but Â£10,000 is from public bodies, the Â£10,000 coming from British Cycling. TfL provided Â£6.815 million and the LDA Â£2.4 million. Thus the London taxpayer provided 90% of the cash. The rest came from UK Sport, Sport England, SEEDA and Kent, Canterbury and Medway councils.