This story in tonight’s Standard illustrates what a chancer the Mayor is. He drove a terrible bargain for London over Crossrail, taking on board way too much risk, and now he is trying to make out that he is the only one capable of delivering the project. You have got to admire the guy’s chutzpah.
The Standard says:
London could be bankrupted if the £16 billion Crossrail project is mishandled, Ken Livingstone has warned.
The Mayor said the long-delayed highspeed link between the City and Heathrow would help safeguard the capital’s status as a financial powerhouse.
But he added this would require the payment of some of the highest public-sector salaries in London to keep the project on track for completion in 2018.
Mr Livingstone, addressing an Evening Standard debate on how London can stay ahead as a great world city, said: “Probably the most important single issue facing the next mayor is getting that right. If we get it wrong the scale of that project is enough to bankrupt London.
“We will bring people in that will be earning more than anybody else in this room in order to deliver that project on time and to budget.” The Mayor helps oversee the construction of Crossrail through Transport for London, which currently appoints half the project’s directors.
The rail scheme will come under full TfL control once the Bill establishing it gets royal assent.
The Mayor has managed to do a deal with the government on Crossrail which involves Londoners bearing all of the risk if this project goes wrong. This is not the case with the other large project that the Mayor wants to take credit for – the Olympics. He keeps telling us we have a limited liability with the Olympics.
As I pointed out when the announcement was made not only does London have to take undue risk it also has to give up economic development funds in a way that other parts of the country don’t have to. As I said back then:
The Mayor’s job was to get Brown to give us the cash for Crossrail and not to expose Londoners to unnecessary risk. The Mayor has blown it.