Labourâ€™s transport and environment spokesman, Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, has been caught out lying about the Taxicard scheme today. On the Ealing Today website he says:
The decision was made by officers on guidance given to them from London Councils but having been made aware of these changes we have taken the following steps …
This is just nonsense.
Anyone who went to the Boris event last week will have been puzzled by the questions to the Mayor on this scheme and indeed by the thread on Ealing Today. The scheme is not widely known about â€“ unless you are disabled that is.
The Taxicard scheme has been hugely successful, growing by 18% during 2010 and allowing more and more disabled people to get around in London. The system does have growing pains though and the London Mayor signalled a couple of years ago that he would cap his contribution at Â£12 million.
The London Councilsâ€™ Transport and Environment Committee (TEC) runs this scheme and have been unable or unwilling to modify the scheme to cope with this explosive growth. Since May 2010 the TEC has been chaired by the Labour leader of Islington Council, Catherine West. Since then the committee has been Labour controlled and Ealingâ€™s representative on the committee is none other than our very own Cllr Mahfouz. How on earth can Mahfouz claim no knowledge of the working of this committee when he himself sits on it? The answer, as you can see from the minutes here, is that Mahfouz failed to turn up on 14th October when the matter was discussed. He would have been briefed before and after this meeting so the idea that this all went on behind his back is just risible. If he could not attend the meeting he could have read the papers before the meeting and read the minutes after.
Unless something has gone very wrong Cllr Mahfouz needs to apologise to his officers.