Mayor’s Question Time
15 December 2004
1776/2004 - Funding of BTP Officers on Overground Rail Routes
Does the Mayor believe that more should be done by Train Operating Companies (TOCs) to fund
British Transport Police (BTP) officers on overground rail routes?
The Mayor: The answer is, „yes.‟ Transport for London (TfL) is the second-largest single
funding body of the BTP, accounting for some 22% of its total revenue, covering the whole
of the country. Over 600 officers out of the total 2,280 establishments work directly on TfL
services, with a further 500 officers in the BTP working predominantly on London
TfL is working closely with the BTP and the new BTP Authority to improve the
effectiveness of policing on the transport system and increase overall resources allocated to
front-line policing. We are continuing to encourage the train operating companies to
recognise the importance of dedicated railway policing to ensuring the safety and reliability
of train services. The BTP is fully funded by rail operators, including TfL. National BTP
funding for 2003-04, as detailed in our annual report, shows that the majority of the £141
million expenditure was funded, £67.8 million from the train operating companies, £36.6
million from Network Rail, £31.5 million from TfL, and £5.1 million from others. The
London Underground area of BTP currently deals with 22% of the total BTP reported
John Biggs (AM): I think all Londoners would agree that this is a critical issue – safety in
public places, and the fact that many of our National Rail stations are dingy, poorly lit,
insecure places that people quite often go out of their way not to use, because of their sense
I was wondering if you would be prepared to name and shame operating companies which
are doing least in this area, and perhaps, at the same time, applaud the good work of some of
those who are doing quite good work. I think that Southern, for example, has at least put
out a stall suggesting it is going to do some good work in this area, but there are others
which are doing, basically, very little.
The Mayor: Well, I will get the detailed breakdown of the contributions by the train
operating companies. We would need to, of course, weight those for passengers travelling,
number of stations, and so on. I will get that bit of work from TfL, the detailed analysis.
Now that we have increased our funding to BTP to cover 600, rather than 400, police, one
would hope, given the insecurities people have when they travel on suburban stations, that
the train operating companies might just divert a little bit of their profit margin into a few
more police on the beat on the trains.
John Biggs (AM): They might even find, Chair, that people start using their services in
greater numbers if they feel more secure on them. Would you be interested in exploring the
extension of the Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU) pilot into National Rail
services, where cooperative rail companies indicate they are prepared to support that?
The Mayor: We would be delighted. There is a question later on about the funding we are
putting into Silverlink services, and clearly, where a line is wholly contained within London
– or virtually so – it is more tempting for us to get involved in funding that than a line that
runs through the Home Counties, where the local authorities are making no additional
contribution at all. What we want to avoid is Londoners, through the council tax, picking
up the whole bill for policing, which should have been met by the train operating companies,
or if they are not prepared to meet it, at least should be shared with surrounding Home
Counties, none of whom, I think, have quite the levels of deprivation as some London
Valerie Shawcross (AM): I think one of the problems with security at stations is the mixed
responsibility of the train operators and Network Rail and, up until this next year, I think,
the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). One of the difficulties we have is that some of the
visible structures are Network Rail responsibilities, and as John (Biggs) said, the train
operators are starting to get better on things like security and cleaning up in their stations,
such as railway bridges right in the middle of town centres or in high-profile locations.
Do you think TfL could do some work talking to Network Rail about cleaning up that
visible infrastructure when it is on Network Rail property?
The Mayor: Actually, I do have occasional meetings with John Armitt, the Chief Executive
of Network Rail, and I will put this on the agenda for our next meeting to look at what they
are doing and what we might be able to do together. Now that gradually, most London
boroughs seem to have come into the various programmes we are running for tackling
graffiti and improving street cleanliness and so on, we might be able to reach out and
include some of the suburban stations in this.
Jennette Arnold (AM): In the light of the failure of CCTV cameras at Wood Street station
– a station in my constituency where there was the recent fatal stabbing – will you join me
in pressing for every possible step to be taken to ensure that where CCTV is in place, it is
The Mayor: I have to say, once CCTV cameras have been put in, for the train operating
companies or Network Rail not to ensure that, actually, the thing is working and
recording… so, we have had horrifying cases of people murdered on train stations and find
there is no tape in the camera. I am really tempted to wonder whether there should not be a
case from bereaved relatives – which I would be happy to help fund – for negligence against
the train operating companies. Imagine what would be said here if someone had just been
stabbed to death on an Underground station, and we found that Bob Kiley (Commissioner,
TfL) and Tim O‟Toole (Managing Director, London Underground) were not sufficiently on
top of their jobs to make certain that the cameras had tape in.
You would all be saying, „This is an outrage,‟ and you would be right, and we should expect
the same of the train operating companies, which receive a massive public subsidy.
Roger Evans (AM): One of the concerns about Train Operating Companies (TOCs)
funding a policing initiative is that they run services which travel, in some instances, quite a
long way outside the boundaries of London. How would you make sure – in this contract
proposal which sounds good on the face of it – that the money that they provided would be
used for policing stations in London, and the resources would not be going further afield?
The Mayor: This is the problem. This would be an extremely complicated contract. When
we set up the TOCU, basically, the bus policing operation, it was an enormously long and
detailed contract to ensure that we did not get the problems that we have had in the past
that you fund a service, and then police eventually, after a year or two, move the staff away
onto something else. They do not get the money if they do not provide the service.
Relatively simple, because you are dealing with buses that overwhelmingly just operate
inside London. I doubt if 1% of our mileage, in real terms, is outside our boundaries, but on
almost all the commuter networks, perhaps one-third to 60% of their route is outside
London, and clearly, you cannot have the police getting on and off at the border like it is the
Berlin Wall or something. They have to be on the thing from start to finish.
Roger Evans (AM): Even with the bus TOCU, your officers found themselves enforcing
lane discipline amongst the contractors at Vauxhall Cross when work was being done there,
which I do not think had originally been envisaged. How would you make sure that the
officers are used for the purposes that you intend them for, and they do not get diverted
onto making sure other people are doing the jobs they should be doing?
The Mayor: What we clearly laid down with TOCU was that if you had a police officer on a
bus, and they could see a crime taking place down a side road, off the main route they were
travelling, we expected them to get off and arrest the individuals concerned. Clearly, where
they see a crime, they should pursue it, and no one should give a damn about whose
territory it is on, so you would not be too restrictive, but what we cannot have is London
council tax payers paying to provide a better policing transport system for people in the
Home Counties. That is just not reasonable.
Graham Tope (AM): I think we are all agreed on this issue in this chamber. One of the
answers that the TOC‟s always give on this is that when they do their customer surveys,
their customers always rate their highest priorities as being better and more reliable train
services, which in a way is not too surprising, given it is a TOC that is asking that question,
and maybe the customers do not actually relate safety to a train operating company, as
obviously they should.
When you do your London opinion surveys, do you include or would you include specific
questions about safety on overground trains and use that as evidence to the TOC‟s that this
really is a priority for London travellers?
The Mayor: I think we have asked that question in the past, and certainly, it is one I will
make sure we ask in our… I think we have just let the contract for our big annual survey,
whether it will be in that or one of our smaller, more regular surveys, but I will revisit that
Graham Tope (AM): It is quite clear that the TOC‟s regard it as, for them, a low priority.
I think it is safe to say most Londoners do not.
The Mayor: Perhaps if they were providing better levels of safety then, in the evenings,
when often many of the trains are not too crowded, they might get a better level of service.
Graham Tope (AM): Yes, I agree. We are moving, hopefully, very slowly towards a
London Rail Authority. Do you envisage, if and when that comes about, that we can bring
in a London Transport Police Authority of some description and that we can then move to a
stage where we are actually levying a precept on the train operating companies, rather than
leaving them to determine what the priority and what funding they are prepared to put into
The Mayor: As I recall the answer, it is clearly a complicated situation. We are in favour of
one, single transport policing authority for London, and clearly, you would want to make
that as responsive and flexible as possible. Thus, all these things we will be happy to look
When we look at the legislation that is going to abolish the SRA and pass its powers to the
Department for Transport it is effectively an enabling Act, and so there is going to be very
little precise in it about our involvement, if anything at all, but the Act is structured so that
the Government can come back without further legislation and impose any structure it
likes. Therefore, if after 18 months down the road, the initial cut of what they do is not
working – and it would be a miracle if you could get it right the first time – we would
always be in the position of being able to come back and say, „We think it should be
My guess is, initially, Department for Transport officials will feel that they most probably
have the skills to manage all this themselves. If they fail to do that, I suspect they will then
look to Bob Kiley and his team to step in and do something a bit better.
Graham Tope (AM): One of the successes of the late, lamented Connex South East was
actually to encourage their staff, particularly the drivers, to become special constables. Is
that something you would take up with the train operating companies and encourage them
there, because Connex certainly said it made a significant difference to – not just having
them as special constables, but actually to the observations that their staff made as trained
The Mayor: Anything we could do to assist in increasing the number of special constables
that operate on the train service, we would be happy to do. I am sure both the present and
the incoming commissioner would be delighted to be involved in that.
Richard Barnes (AM): Can I take you back to answer you gave to Jennette Arnold on
CCTV. Not too long ago, a London bus driver was stabbed in an incident of road rage,
which no doubt, you will recall. The CCTV system on his bus did not work. As Chairman
of TfL, would you accept the same sort of responsibility which you wish to impose upon the
The Mayor: I would have if I ran the bus operating companies. We contract with them,
but clearly, what we need to do is tighten the contracting regime to make sure that they do
that, and I shall go back and look at that.
1806/2004 - Increase in Congestion Charge
Given that in your own consultation into the westward extension of the Congestion Charge 66% of
Londoners opposed it at £5, what percentage do you think would oppose it at £8?
The Mayor: The Transport Strategy revision to enable a western extension was about the
principle of introducing such a scheme. Much of the consultation responses were concerned
with specific details, such as where the Congestion Zone boundary would be drawn. I have
listened to the concerns raised and made modifications to the final Transport Strategy
revision that was published in August. These allow the western extension to be taken
forward, but specifically require further consideration to be given to a number of aspects of
the proposal, including the location of the proposed boundaries before bringing forward any
order for public consultation.
TfL has subsequently been engaging the 10 most directly-affected London boroughs on
such matters and expect to start preliminary consultation with key stakeholders on the draft
scheme order for a western extension in January 2005. This will be followed by a public
consultation. I will carefully consider TfL‟s report on the consultation and the
representations received before making a final decision on whether or not to proceed with
the western extension.
The proposal to increase the Congestion Charge to £8 for most vehicles and to £7 for
vehicles registered on the fleet schemes is separate from the consultation on the western
extension. Nevertheless, if following this consultation I decide to confirm the increase, this
will be reflected in the proposal for a western extension.
Angie Bray (AM): Well, I think however much you try to muddle it up, it is pretty clear in
most people‟s minds that it is about the complications, and it is about the money, and you
consulted with people for £5, and they gave you a 66% „no‟ across the whole of London, and
I suspect that that will only go higher, if you actually had to end up consulting about £8.
Are you not concerned that Londoners have virtually given up having any confidence at all
in your open-mindedness as far as your consultations are concerned? You would not be out
already dealing with IT companies and signing up to contracts worth millions of pounds for
the extension, despite a 66% „no‟ from the rest of London, if it was not that you actually
treat Londoners and their attempts to consult with you in an open way with absolute
contempt. Do you accept that there is very little confidence left in your open-minded
The Mayor: Well, can I say, I think most probably the reason I was elected is because
Londoners recognise I will take difficult and often painful decisions which are in the long-
term interests of London, rather than take short-term popular decisions. That has been my
reputation over nearly 30 years in public life, and I see no reason now to change, given that,
with the passage of time, most people have come to accept that decisions I took which might
not have been popular at the time, whether it is on Congestion Charging or dialogue with
the leaders of Sinn Fein, have been shown to be right by the passage of time.
Angie Bray (AM): Well, we can all go there, because I can also point to my election result,
which said something very different about what views are held on your Congestion Charge
extension in west London, but I do not think there is any point in both of us crowing in that
Of course, we have already got some sort of a taste, have we not, of what you can expect,
not only with the extension, but the £8 from the latest survey that is being done by the
Forum of Private Business, who suggest that 81% of their members would have been
opposed to a £6 rise, so heaven knows where that number goes on £8. You are, of course,
losing all your business friends, are you not, as you proceed to tighten the screw of this
Congestion Charge. Even London First has now stopped supporting you.
What is your message to people like the Forum of Private Business, who have said that a
third of their members may well consider re-locating as a result of your Congestion Charge,
and that is as it is at the moment, let alone what you might be going to be doing next year.
The Mayor: My message to the Forum of Private Business would be we would love for
them to pop in and talk to us, because we had no idea they existed until we read about them
in the newspaper, nor did my business advisor, who spent the last five years in consultation
with all the major business organisations and businesses in London, even know they
existed. It is always nice to welcome a new player to the London scene, but let us start with
actually having a meeting so we find out who they are.
All the way through this debate, people, I think, have confused things that are happening in
the general economic cycle, the impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the
collapse of the Central Line system, the war in Iraq. All of that has had a huge impact, one
way or another, on business. The impact of the Congestion Charge – not opinions, but the
surveys that we have done, which are more rational and more scientifically influenced –
show that the impact of the Congestion Charge is minimal. We now know that the initial
position of 6,000 fewer vehicles a day coming into central London has been reversed, and we
now have more people coming into central London than when we introduced the
Congestion Charge. We also know that the people who spend the most are those who walk
to the shops.
Angie Bray (AM): Well, that certainly does not seem to be the evidence of certain butchers
and fishmongers that I have been speaking to. Anyway, it never ceases to amaze me how
you and TfL seem to be more knowledgeable about a small business‟s books and how they
run the business than they are themselves, but then you do seem to set yourselves up as
being the only people who have any knowledge of the Congestion Charging, and anybody
who disagrees with you must be just plain wrong.
The Mayor: Can I say, we are not knowledgeable. We have no knowledge of the books of
Angie Bray (AM): It is amazing how you can always tell everybody else that they are
talking rubbish, then, is it not?
The Mayor: We keep saying to them, „Could we just see your turnover?‟
Angie Bray (AM): Yes, and they do, and then you say it is rubbish.
The Mayor: We keep saying to them, could we just see your turnover on a day-by-day
basis, so we can track the impact over several events, and they all say, „Commercial
confidentiality: we cannot.‟ Now, I am not saying I should look at them myself, but we
could find an independent assessor to do that.
Angie Bray (AM): Well, I thought that Imperial College had already provided a report
which did not give you the news you wanted. Anyway, let me set aside my own cynicism
about your consultation, because it is obviously probably the only opportunity that people
have actually to express anything in that they do not want your extension or your £8. Can
I suggest, however, that for brevity, simplicity, and some clarity, why do you not lump the
two consultations, the forthcoming consultations, together, because whether you like it or
not, the £8 is now inextricably bound up with the extension debate. The two are the same
in the minds of most people where I live, and would it not just be an opportunity to put
Londoners out of their misery one way or the other by having a consultation on both early
next year, and then hopefully, for once, you might actually listen to the results. I will put
my money where my mouth is. £8 I will bet you, that actually, if it is 66% last time, those
figures are to go stratospheric, 80s or 90s, possibly this time. Would you do that?
The Mayor: It would be my wish to do precisely that, and that is what I asked to be
allowed to do, and the very strong legal advice by outside counsel was that this was not the
appropriate way to proceed. The two consultations have to be kept absolutely separate, and
we would be challenged legally if I tried to merge them.
Angie Bray (AM): Are we allowed to see that legal advice?
The Mayor: It is verbal.
Angie Bray (AM): Oh, how convenient.
The Mayor: Otherwise, I would do it, because I think it makes sense. I have made my
views clear, both about the Charge and about the extension. I agreed the final zone
boundary proposals this week, and they have now gone off to work the final details out, and
when they go to the borough councils, primarily, and business organisations in January, you
will see we have made major amendments to take on board particularly the concerns of
people who fear their community would be split in south-western Kensington and Chelsea,
and the particular fears people had coming down from Brent trying to get to Sainsbury‟s
and so on.
Thus, we have amended the scheme, but what I would say, at the end of the day, is that
people must not be confused. A consultation is not a referendum.
Angie Bray (AM): Certainly not with you.
The Mayor: It is consulting and it will influence some of my decisions, but at the end of the
day, I will take the decision I believe is in the best long-term interest of London. I think it
is a mistake that consultation is written into the Act in the way it is, because it leads people
to assume this is a referendum.
Bob Neill (AM): Given that you advocate that the private sector should waive commercial
confidentiality to show you the figures, will you direct Capita to do the same and waive
their commercial confidentiality, which you have always invoked to withhold details of the
The Mayor: We have a contract with them. I cannot direct them to do anything that was
not in the original contract. Now, it might be that when the contract is re-let, this is
something we will vary, but there was a very heavy burden of commercial confidentiality,
because there were firms bidding against each other, and Capita will not want to be in a
position where any of its commercial data, which might strengthen a rival bid, should be in
the public domain, but within that constraint, on all these issues I share the Assembly‟s
view, whether it was the Public Private Partnership (PPP) or Capita‟s contract, my gut
instinct is as much of it as possible should be in the public domain. Clearly, this will be
tested by some enterprising journalist as soon as the Freedom of Information Act comes in.
Bob Neill (AM): You have no problem with revealing the figures? You have no problem
with that material being revealed to us?
The Mayor: I have no problem with any information about Capita being in the public
domain. I suspect they do not vote for me.
Bob Neill (AM): Will you support any application that might be made, any legal
The Mayor: If I am legally allowed to do so. I might find that, because we are signatories
to a contract, I am not in that position.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): Can I come back to the westward extension and the £8?
If both go ahead, there will be a lot more Londoners who will get a discount of £7.50, if
they use their residential exemption to drive into a bigger area of London. Is that not
actually in danger of risking the whole of the scheme?
The Mayor: If we were not increasing the charge, and we went ahead with the western
extension, there would be a degree of erosion of the benefits of the scheme. If we do both
the extension and the £8, that will not be a problem. There will be a further reduction of
private transport into central London.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): The consultation on the £8 gives an estimate of an
increase of £45 million a year income as a result of the increase. I guess, from what you
have said about the separation of the consultations it cannot, but perhaps you could clarify
whether or not it takes account of the westward extension, or is this just an estimate simply
on the central zone?
The Mayor: I do not want to make a guess. I have seen so many figures on so many
proposals, but we will get back to you later on today with the information on that.
I am fairly certain that the impact of both schemes taken together is another £50 million a
year, but do not hold me to that.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): I will wait until later today. If Lynne Featherstone were
here she would be asking you whether the extra revenue would be invested on developing
global positioning satellite technology.
The Mayor: No, clearly, if we proceed with the £8, the bulk of the increased income will be
consumed on the western extension if we do that, because the first call should be to actually
further reduce congestion, so the people paying the charge get the benefit of further reduced
congestion. We are working with the Government doing trial work and building towards a
trial zone that will take place within the existing zone to trial out a new system. I think it
will not yet be global positioning. It will be a transponder system using cables under roads
and so on, but we are working with Government. We would like to proceed as rapidly as
possible to a global satellite system.
Murad Qureshi (AM): How does the proposed new Congestion Charge compare with
parking charges in the West End?
The Mayor: I have to say, when I hear complaints of some councillors in the existing zone
who say that they wish to be champions of the motorist, there is no evidence, based on the
parking policies pursued for some considerable period of time, that that is the case. It is
quite clear that central London boroughs of all parties have seen the income from parking
fees as a very convenient way of keeping down the council tax by penalising the people who
come in from the rest of London or outside London.
I think the windfall that those five boroughs have – Liberal, Labour, and Conservative –
should be shared London-wide, rather than being just a resource for themselves.
Murad Qureshi (AM): Can I also make a comment on the West London residents‟ impact
on the West End extension potentially? Do they not actually get a very good deal from
you? At the moment, if the proposal goes ahead, for between 50-80p, they could get
entrance into the West End, which they do not do at the moment.
The Mayor: What we have is a package here, which is a very small increase for business. A
big simplification of the system with the introduction of virtually monthly and annual
passes with big discounts, so that a small business with just one or two cars or vans will be
able to do that and make a real saving. We are moving towards a direct debit system. That
may still take several years, and there are problems in terms of the banking end of all of that
and making sure people do not end up with big fines, because there is not the money in their
account exactly on the day they expect it to be.
You also have the real advantage that you get this dramatic further reduction in congestion,
a big improvement in bus services running through the area, an improvement in air quality,
and I think, at the end of the day, that we will see the alarming stories of the various
borough councils and some of the residents‟ groups, who… I have read the leaflets. If I
believed what was in the leaflets, I would not vote for the Congestion Charge extension.
They predict everything, except the return of the Egyptian pox. It is absolutely appalling.
Of course people are scared and concerned, and that is why, at the end of the day, one needs
to look at the consultation percentages knowing the nature of the arguments and the
scaremongering that has gone on.
Peter Hulme Cross (AM): You say that the effect of the Congestion Charge on business is
minimal, but that is not the message that we get from businesses. I think businesses across
the board are united in saying that their takings are substantially down, both large
businesses and small businesses. Small businesses are saying, in fact, that when the £8
Congestion Charge comes in – if it comes in, which knowing you on past performance is
likely – it will drive many of them out of business. Are you not concerned about that?
The Mayor: Well, there have been so many of these surveys. I seem to recall one
predicting that when the Congestion Charge came in half of the small businesses in the zone
would move out. I do not want to disparage some of these surveys. I think they have not
been scientific, but I can tell you – as someone who has lived in London all his life – I never
recall a year in which small businesses were not saying they faced terrible burdens – too
much tax, too much regulation, and so on.
Why do we not have a competition? There will be a magnum of champagne from the
Mayor for the Londoner who can produce evidence of a year in which small businesses were
not complaining about the burden of taxation and regulation.
Darren Johnson (AM): What sort of modelling did you do to get to the £8 figure? Will it
be high enough to make a significant impact in terms of traffic reduction?
The Mayor: It‟s nice to hear the other side of the argument! We looked at £6 and £7 and
£8. We did not go beyond that. My concern very much was if we just went to £6, the
increase is so small, everyone would pay. There would be no further reduction in
congestion, and so you could, over the Mayoral term, have gone from £6 to £7 to £8
without depressing the level of traffic. It is like that thing about you put a frog in a pan and
heat the water, and it never jumps out, because it never notices the temperature and then it
Thus, I think we wanted to actually make people recognise the difference. The £8 will
create a further reduction in traffic flow into central London, with all the benefits that come
from that. I have always said I do not think you want to charge more than you absolutely
really have to in order to get those benefits.
1795/2004 - Canals
Do you agree that there is massive untapped potential for using London’s canal network to transport
waste and other cargoes? What measures need to be put in place to deliver this potential? Do TfL
and British Waterways have an action plan to bring this about?
The Mayor: I agree. TfL has committed to funding a major study into the potential for
carrying bulk commodities on west London‟s canals, and this is due to report in March.
TfL and British Waterways are working closely together under the guidance of the London
Sustainable Distribution Partnership to create opportunities for moving waste, recyclables,
and construction materials by water, and this features in TfL‟s current freight strategy
Peter Hendy (Managing Director of Surface Transport, TfL) is meeting with British
Waterways in January to discuss a coordinated approach to increasing the commercial
traffic on London‟s canals, and of course, if we are successful in the Olympic bid, there is
going to be an extensive use of the rivers and canals in that area, but that will, of course,
largely be driven by whether or not we win the Olympics.
Jenny Jones (AM): Well, the Greens on the London Assembly have put together a superb
report on the canal.
The Mayor: I agree.
Jenny Jones (AM): I was hoping you were going to say that you would accept our 10-point
plan for putting more freight onto the canals and off London‟s roads. Have you looked at
the 10 points, and do you agree with most of them?
The Mayor: I have the 10 points. I slept last night with these by my head. In principle,
one is sympathetic, and broadly, I think, I agree with all of them. Some of them would be
fairly expensive. They will also require people with skills to carry out the work, and I
suspect, as when we started to pick the cycling programme up off its knees four years ago,
our initial constraint here may very well be a staff capable of taking these proposals
forward, rather than the financing, but I would like to go in this direction.
I do not want to get people‟s hopes up that it is going to happen all within this term, but
certainly, I have asked Peter Hendy to look at this and see how much we can take forward
and what its staffing implications and financial implications are.
Jenny Jones (AM): I take your point about time and skills and so on, but the fact is things
are happening at the moment which will make it more and more difficult to actually achieve
some of these objectives, and so there is a feeling of urgency. You may or may not know
that there is a fair amount of ill will amongst quite a lot of the people who are involved in
the whole process, and I think it is urgent that this is mocked up as fast as possible and
things do get going.
We are going to lose even more sites, if we are not quick about this. You picked up a piece
of paper. It has a very attractive photograph of me with Neale Coleman, (Director of
Business, Planning and Regeneration), and behind us, there are actually some buildings that
are threatened. Action has to start happening quite fast, or we will lose opportunities quite
The Mayor: We are happy to sit down with you and other representatives who are
interested in this and go through what we can do to take it forward. Hopefully, we are close
to getting a definitive position on the remaining safeguarded walls on the River Thames,
and that is a quite dramatic extension of the number that are safeguarded by going down
river, and there are two or three fairly controversial ones in all of that. One of the reasons
we will be arguing for inclusion in the Labour general election manifesto of a commitment
to transfer control of the waste authorities in London to the GLA is the abysmal failure to
actually take a London-wide view and to actually use the river for the distribution and the
transportation of waste. That should be done extensively.
Jenny Jones (AM): You talked about Peter Hendy meeting with British Waterways in
January, but could we perhaps all sit down and actually go through this, either at about the
same time or very soon afterwards, so we that can get going on it, basically?
The Mayor: I am happy to set up a meeting with my staff and Peter (Hendy) and you and
anybody else here that is interested in this to see what we can do to take it all forward.
Jennette Arnold (AM): I am only squeezing in, because in my constituency, I have the
Regents Canal, and of course, a lot of work is being done in this area, and I wanted to know
whether or not the Mayor has had the opportunity to be briefed on the pilot – the feasibility
report, I believe, has just been circulated – about the waste of water?
The Mayor: Is that the one in Hackney?
Jennette Arnold (AM): Yes and whether he has had a chance to be briefed on that. If he
has not, can he seek that briefing, and can I just also add that I would agree with him that,
because of the importance of the canal, not only in terms of waste, but in terms of their part
in the transport infrastructure of London, we do need to have a meeting. I would say that it
is about asking other bodies, as well, which have had a longstanding interest in this matter.
The Mayor: We think that the trial in Hackney has been successful. The question will be
getting it commercially adopted, and clearly, directly providing funding for such projects
comes at a substantial cost. Apparently, the position is that the vehicle that was trialled
there with the de-mountable body did not include as standard the bag collecting facility, and
whilst the vehicle is not as cheap as a standard collection vehicle, it is actually cheaper to
manufacture. This is not going to be an easy one to resolve. In principle, it is a good idea,
but it is going to broadly have to be paid for by the private sector.
Nicky Gavron (AM): As we are now building up big supply chains of materials, we are
beginning to get in London a secondary materials economy, so what is being discussed is
really important. However, the point made about sites is also very important. They are too
small, and they do not come to you and me, and there is an issue about us losing sites all
along the canals, and the character of the canals is being changed, as well. Therefore, it is
very important, I think, that we review the guidelines for the canals, and we also resuscitate
the Canals Committee, which actually has been in abeyance for some time now. It is
actually our watchdog on this.
The other thing I wanted to say in relation to Hackney: there is potential for three mini-
paper mills in London. New York has four. One of those is likely to be sited – I am
working on this now – next door to the Edmonton Incinerator, which means it will take the
heat off, so at last, you start getting something that really is combined heat and power
there. This means that waste paper goes up, and product paper – tissue and newspaper –
comes down. It will add, I think, reinforcement.
The Mayor: Can I say on this, we have some competing and overlapping bodies looking at
canals, and there is a question later on about reviewing this. It seems to me this is a good
point, with two of the chairs vacant, and once again I am happy to meet with Members of
the Assembly who have an interest in this, to actually decide whether we do not want a
simplification of this structure, and perhaps one body that might be more high-powered. So
this is open to you, and I will not be filling any of those posts, until we have, hopefully, a
consensus about what is the best way forward to take this.
John Biggs (AM): British Waterways Board has, I think, done a lot of good work in
London, particularly promoting regeneration. There have been a number of transfer
stations installed on the canal network, but I did not have the benefit, which you obviously
pleasurably did have of sleeping with Jenny‟s (Jones) report under my pillow.
Nonetheless, it seems to me pretty obvious that it would be sensible for British Waterways
as another public body to accept that the Mayor should be consulted on the possible
designation of wharves on the canal network in London, because if we are not careful, they
are going to become a major property company in London, and they may run the risk of
losing sight of their other fundamental objective, which is to keep the canals open for the
potential use of freight transfer.
The Mayor: I think many developers which have a financial interest in existing wharves
perceive things as they have been in the past, and certainly when we began negotiations
with Rupert Murdoch‟s News International about their wharf, what was required was to
take them, I think, to America to show them the latest standard of environmental waste
transfer stations and so on, which are not going to hinder the commercial development or
the property prices of the luxury housing that go on these. These are no longer stinking
great heaps of garbage with mass rat infestation. They are, often now, very attractive and
environmentally sound buildings that enhance the area, and that is what we have to get
across. It is not an environmental management (EM) conflict of interest.
Mike Tuffrey (AM): With Christmas coming, we clearly need to keep the cross-party love-
in going for as long as we can, and from our side, we too see potential here. I think there
are 18 London boroughs that actually border on the River Thames, so there is clearly
potential, if these practicalities can be overcome, to transfer the waste through the canals,
onto the river, and out to our good friends in Essex.
However, when I started looking into this, as to what is the current position, I had some
difficulty. Capitalwastefacts.com, which is a Mayoral London Remade website says that
16% is currently transported by barge; London Remade says 18%; and your Municipal
Waste Strategy says 27%. I wonder if your briefing has the answer as to what is the
current position of transport of household waste by water.
The Mayor: Sadly, no.
Mike Tuffrey (AM): Well, that makes my point very conveniently. Could I suggest that
you ask your officials to get it straight as to what is the current position, and then would
you see your way to adding a specific target to the Municipal Waste Strategy, because I
think until we have a percentage in mind, it is very hard to drive progress, and while the
Waste Strategy, talks about the desirability of this, which we would all agree with, it would
help if there were some background and an actual target with a timeline.
The Mayor: I would hope there is an inevitable increase coming, because our work with
London Remade is leading to the construction of recycling sites in London. As you know,
we are very close now to getting a site in Barking for plastics, after the longstanding
scandal that we have not been recycling plastics in this city, and hopefully, work may even
start there recycling plastics in 2006, and because it is in Barking, one would assume an
awful lot of the plastics could be conveyed there by canal.
Perhaps, hopefully – because I always travel hopefully and assume the best – it might be all
those separate figures were taken at different times, and then they get better as time has
gone by. I will prepare to be corrected.
1928/2004 - Oxford Street Christmas Lights
Peter Hulme Cross
Can the Mayor tell us when Oxford Street will be getting its Christmas lights this year? At the
moment, there are just a couple of searchlights from an old Prisoner of War (POW) camp.
The Mayor: I am not responsible for deciding what form the festive lighting takes in
Oxford Street. This is a matter for the retailers and landowners there, working with the
New West End Company. I have been glad to support them in supporting a part of London
that is a retail and leisure centre of international importance, employing over 30,000 people
and accounting for £4.5 billion in retail spending every year. My particular agreement to
provide support this year was on the promotion of London‟s Olympic bid.
I point out, however, that experience says it is very hard to come up with festive lights
which are universally popular, as so much depends on personal taste. The intention this
year was to try a completely new approach to light up and draw attention to the West End.
The lights are visible across a wide area of London, including from outside this building.
I am told the Oxford Street retailers and landowners who contributed to the costs have
expressed satisfaction. They have also helped us to make a very visible expression of
London‟s commitment to the Olympic bid, and for this reason, the London Development
Agency (LDA) agreed to make a contribution towards the cost of the lights. Of course,
reaction to this year‟s lights will be taken into account by those looking at light displays in
Peter Hulme Cross (AM): If the Oxford Street retailers have expressed dissatisfaction, let
us hope that you listen to them, since you do not seem to be too happy about listening to
people normally. Nonetheless, let us bring this question a little bit closer to home, to this
building, in fact. I make the point that you have abolished Christmas in this building, it
The Mayor: Hang on. I love Christmas. I am really looking forward to it, because then I
sleep a lot. I have a Christmas tree at home. I would assume that More London would have
a Christmas tree appearing down here, as they have done in previous years. Let us all
remember here: we are tenants; we do not run this site. If we ran this site, there would be a
lot of very interesting things going on.
Bob Neill (AM): What about inside here?
The Mayor: I am quite happy that perhaps at the start of the last Mayor‟s Questions before
Christmas, I might descend from above on a rope dressed as Santa or something.
1917/2004 - ID Cards
Do you believe that the identity cards scheme, as proposed by the Government’s Identity Cards Bill,
provides value-for-money for Londoners, or do you agree that the required funding would be better
spent on improving public services, such as policing?
The Mayor: I support the introduction of an identity card scheme. It could make a real and
important contribution to the fight against organised crime and terrorism by disrupting the
use of multiple identities, identity fraud, and related crimes such as money laundering and
The introduction of an identity card could lead to a reduction in crime, or an increase in
detection rate by reducing the amount of time spent by police officers on checking identities.
This would provide value for money for Londoners, as the resources will ultimately be
saved by public agencies. This could then be reinvested in mainstream services.
Graham Tope (AM): That is clear, unequivocal support for the Government‟s proposed
scheme for the introduction of identity cards.
The Mayor: No, what I am saying is that they could get it right. I am sure, as this goes
through legislation it will be improved.
Graham Tope (AM): Do you lack confidence that the Government will get it right?
The Mayor: Well, let us bear in mind, when the GLA Bill was introduced, it was then
amended by a volume of amendments the same size as the original bill. That is the case
with every major Government piece of legislation. I suspect that the bill which will
eventually emerge, after what might be 18 months of Parliamentary scrutiny, will be
substantially different from the one introduced. That is the Parliamentary process. You
strengthen it by picking at it, looking for weaknesses, and modifying as it goes through.
I would have thought it inconceivable this bill will go through Parliament without
substantial amendments in the Lords. It is going to be important to get it right. It could
go wrong, but I have no in-principle objection to identity cards. I think the vast majority of
people do not. I respect those people who have an in-principle objection, but given the
world in which we now live, I see substantial benefits, just to ordinary people to be able to
prove their identity on the very many occasions when, these days, one is asked to.
Graham Tope (AM): Thus, you quite categorically disagree with the 1990 Trust, which
says, and I quote from the November publication, „ID cards are a misguided response to
terrorism, traffickers, crime, or fraud.‟ You are clearly disagreeing with that.
The Mayor: Well, I am sure there are many positions the 1990 Trust will have taken that I
either disagree with or take a slightly different angle on. I do not think that the major
benefit of this will be in stopping international terrorism, because terrorists have resources
that will enable them, no doubt, to create very, very good fraudulent copies.
I think, actually, the major beneficiary will be in a lot of low-level crime, in helping police
just tackle youngsters or suspicious characters hanging around who might be about to do a
mugging, might be about to do a burglary and will just make it a lot easier for police to find
out who people are, and if they have not got an identity card, to concentrate on them.
Graham Tope (AM): That leads directly on to the next quote from the 1990 Trust: „The
1990 Trust believes that the introduction of identity cards in Britain will reinforce racial
discrimination and particularly Islamophobia.‟ Do you have no concern about that either?
The Mayor: I do not have the slightest doubt that as the legislation proceeds through
Parliament, we will be involved in recommending changes and amendments to it. One of
my main concerns is to make sure that this identity card scheme is not racially divisive, and
does not do those things. Now, all the practice in the past, with stop and search, and so on,
has shown that you can easily slip into that, and we want to make sure we get this right and
that we build in the safeguards that prevent this being seen as something that will bear
disproportionately on Londoners who are black or Asian.
Graham Tope (AM): It is not currently proposed to be compulsory to carry identity cards,
even when the scheme becomes compulsory. How is that going to help with the situation
The Mayor: This is one of the areas in which I do not actually agree with the Government.
I think it should be compulsory.
Graham Tope (AM): Are you aware that the money currently committed by the Home
Office – I am not talking about the very wide estimates for what it may eventually cost –
towards this scheme will be enough to pay for 10,000 new police officers? If London got its
share of that, that would be more than enough to fully implement the Safer Neighbourhood
Teams across London. Do you not think that would actually do far more to reassure
Londoners than having to carry identity cards?
The Mayor: If the Government was telling me, „You can either have identity cards or your
Safer Neighbourhoods Scheme,‟ I would say, „We prefer the Safer Neighbourhoods Scheme‟,
but as you know, the Government has given me enough money to roll out the next stage of
five teams to a borough in the most generous grant settlement we have had for ten years.
Graham Tope (AM): Plus the precept increase, at least double, probably treble the rate of
The Mayor: Following the thrust of your arguments, my perspective on this conflict
between civil liberties and crime, so much of British law grows out of an over-powerful
monarchy and a long struggle over centuries to establish some basic, fundamental human
rights, and that has been wonderful, and it is a great part of our history. The world has
moved on. We do not have overpowering monarchy. We do not even have a terribly
overpowering Government, although we occasionally get upset with it.
What we do have is a level of organised crime and terrorism with resources on a scale
inconceivable when much of our basic legal structures evolved, and I do not think we should
continue to pretend that the world has not changed.
Graham Tope (AM): Do you think the Home Office should be carrying out a full race
equality impact assessment before these cards are introduced?
The Mayor: I have not looked at that, so I am not in a position to offer an opinion.
Graham Tope (AM): They have actually refused to do so.
The Mayor: As I say, I have not looked at the detail, but I am sure I will get round to a lot
of the detail on this bill over the months to come.
Peter Hulme Cross (AM): You just mentioned organised crime in the same breath as
identity cards, more or less. At our Plenary Session the other day, Commander (Michael)
Messenger (Metropolitan Police Service), when pressed on this subject, found it very
difficult to justify the introduction of ID cards, except to identify bodies once they have
dropped to the ground.
The Mayor: I still think that the real beneficiary will be in tackling the bulk of low-level
crime, the small, petty criminal who has not got the resources of international terrorists or
organised crime and will not be able to easily get a good fake ID card. It is that low-level
crime that impacts most dramatically on Londoners and most dramatically on the poorer
Londoners in the poorer areas. I do not think anyone should make the assumption that just
because we introduce ID cards, we are going to catch Osama Bin Laden, but I do think the
real improvement in the quality of our life could be on just the day-to-day level of petty
harassment and intimidation you get on the streets.
Richard Barnes (AM): I find it extraordinary, that you will support something which is not
going to be introduced until the year 2012, and almost implying that we are going to have
to live with the Prime Minister‟s war on terror at least until then, and then the identity
cards will help resolve it. At the moment, a ship can sail into London from any foreign port,
and it is not until 12 hours after that they have docked that they actually have to produce a
crew list to the local police. Do you not think that a gap like that is a bigger danger than
that posed by ID cards?
The Mayor: I do. One of my criticisms of the Immigration Service into Britain and the
Customs Service is just how little there is in the way of detailed checking. Anybody who
has visited Australia, where virtually all your baggage is checked, would be much more
reassured than the situation we have in Britain, where in all the times I have entered this
country in over 40 years, I think perhaps I have been stopped twice, and one of those was as
a student with a large, suspicious rucksack, which they thought might be full of drugs, but
was actually full of preserved frogs for my natural history collection.
Then, the time that I went into the “something to declare” zone and said, „I have an extra
bottle of brandy over the limit,‟ they said, „Oh, God, no one has ever reported that. It will
take hours to do the paperwork. Just go on through.‟
Richard Barnes (AM): If you arrive at Heathrow, and you have a merchant seaman‟s ticket,
you are waived straight through Immigration with no check. That is a greater danger than
the ID cards we are talking about.
The Mayor: Given the collapse of the shipping industry, the way in which everything is
under a flag of convenience, and God knows who is getting on and off the boats as they sail
round the world, I think you are absolutely right. No one should be allowed off the boat,
until we know who is on it.
1845/2004 - Mayoral Decisions
At the last Mayor’s Question Time, you told us, ‘Can I just say that I often find lots of documents
produced here which, had I had the time to go through them, would have a strongly different tone.
Sometimes things go out I completely disagree with….’ Which ‘things’ that have gone out from City
Hall do you not agree with, and who was responsible for publishing them?
The Mayor: I have said, as I have said on many previous occasions, anything published in
my name is ultimately my responsibility. However, the volume of work and demands on my
time mean that sometimes things are not precisely as I would have preferred for them to be
had I the time to rewrite everything. The amount of time it would take to go back and
produce examples would simply reduce the amount of time I have to devote to something
more productive, but if I can give an example, the written questions from the last session, I
think I got onto about the fourth page. I suspect, now I will never read them. I am sure
there are many answers in there where I might shift the emphasis.
I mentioned to you in an earlier Assembly that an answer to a question you had put down
about fines on a bus lane in Bromley or Bexley seemed to me to be arrogant to the point of
offensive, and I would not have cleared that, if it had come as an oral one. Those things are
inevitably done. Many of the great documents we produce are too technical and not written
with the clarity I would like, but in a system where the Mayor is the elected executive
responsible for everything in law does not mean in reality that I can go through and read
everything that is produced in my name.
Bob Neill (AM): You said at the last Question Time that „Sometimes things go out I
completely disagree with.‟ To say that very specific comment, you must have had
something in mind. Can you tell us?
The Mayor: The example I just gave you of what I thought was an arrogant and offensive
answer to your question about your constituents in Bromley and Bexley, which I would not
have allowed to go out had I seen it in advance. I think I told Peter Hendy to go back and
check whether the signs had not been too severe. I cannot remember the exact details of the
Bob Neill (AM): That is the only one that comes to mind is it?
The Mayor: I am not one of those people who goes to bed at night worrying about
mistakes I made in the past, frankly. You move on.
Bob Neill (AM): I quite understand. I do not want to get stuck in minutiae, but it might be
a bit troubling to Londoners to think that there are a number of things going out from the
Mayor‟s office that the Mayor does not say he would put differently, but says he completely
The Mayor: The last time I checked, there were 60,000 letters and emails to the Mayor.
When I was an MP, I could just about keep level with my constituency correspondence. I
read and signed every letter that went out in my name. Now, I suspect it would take me a
working year just to open them and read them. That is the reality of it, and I do not want
to give Londoners the illusion that some omnipotent Mayor is overseeing everything that
happens here, because you know that is not true and I suspect they know that is not true.
Bob Neill (AM): I understand that. Perhaps you could help us, then. Who in your office
has the authority to sign off letters, publications, or strategies on your behalf that you do
not have the chance to go through in detail yourself?
The Mayor: At the end of the day, only I sign off all of them, particularly the ones that are
so crucial, I do read. I did read the London Plan. I went through and amended it and made
substantial changes to it, but a vast array of stuff goes out from TfL, from the LDA, from
the GLA. I dread to think what mountain of paper gushes out of our little GLA family. We
have 100,000 staff working directly or indirectly for us, and a lot of the staff – particularly
when we first created TfL – a lot of the attitudes there were arrogant, and it was raised by
many Members here. Len Duvall (AM, Chair, Metropolitan Police Authority) persistently
pressed on this one, and I think we have gradually borne down and improved it – still some
way to go in many areas.
Bob Neill (AM): What authority do your policy directors have to respond to issues without
reference to yourself?
The Mayor: Policy Directors always come to me, if they are not aware of what my wishes
would be. Given that my 10 closest staff have worked with me for over 190 years, they can
guess a vast amount of it, and I do not recall them making a single mistake, but there is
never a day goes by without three or four of them needing to pop in just to get a steer on a
particular angle on a particular issue. Given I have to flip from waste management to the
possibility of an al-Qaeda attack to the fares structure, that is inevitable.
Bob Neill (AM): You mentioned the London Plan. Have any of your major strategies gone
out with things in them that you disagree with?
The Mayor: Yes, actually, and I did it with the London Plan. As I sat on the beach in
Australia those years ago working through the amendments, which I brought back, one
amendment I made was I deleted the sub-regional framework listing of boroughs. I thought
the sub-regional framework was absolute rubbish. It discriminated against the peripheral
boroughs in south London and north London. It seemed to me to have been drawn up to
concentrate resources solely in the central band of boroughs, and from Richmond to
Bromley, or from Barnet over Waltham Forest, I think they lost out in that sub-regional
I was then persuaded that I should go along with the thing that had been set up by the
Learning and Skills Council. I think I was wrong to do that. I will therefore be proposing
an amendment to the first revision of the London Plan to adopt sensible sub-regional
boundaries that reflect the way people move around this city, reflecting southeast and the
southwest London, east and west London, and the north central zone. That is one specific
example where I was persuaded that it was „too much hassle, too many vested interests.‟ I
was wrong, so we are going to come back to that one.
Bob Neill (AM): I am sure the Deputy Mayor notes that, and I am not even sure we do not
agree with you.
The Mayor: She agrees with it.
Bob Neill (AM): I think we are all agreed on that one, then.
Angie Bray (AM): Who put it in, then, if you did not?
The Mayor: It was the predecessor body of the LDA that did it.
Bob Neill (AM): Do you personally vet all the content of The Londoner?
The Mayor: I am responsible for everything that appears in The Londoner.
Bob Neill (AM): Do you read it all?
The Mayor: I do not plough through all of it.
Bob Neill (AM): Who has editorial control of The Londoner?
The Mayor: I do.
Bob Neill (AM): Who, therefore, takes responsibility for the content?
The Mayor: I do.
Bob Neill (AM): Do you read all the content?
The Mayor: No, but I trust the people who do, and that is the only way this system can
Bob Neill (AM): What mechanism do you have, therefore, to make sure you discharge your
responsibility for the content of The Londoner in a proper fashion?
The Mayor: Total trust of the staff who work for me.
Bob Neill (AM): Who are the staff who are responsible for drawing up the content of The
The Mayor: Now it has become wider, the National Health Service (NHS) contributes
through the health page; there is the gardening page. Actually, oddly enough, although I
am getting more expert in that now, I do not actually read the gardening page before it
Bob Neill (AM): Which officers within your office are responsible for the content of The
The Mayor: I am responsible for the content, and I trust the judgment of those staff that I
devolve this to on a day-to-day basis.
Bob Neill (AM): Final go, let me rephrase it: which members of staff in your office are
responsible for drawing up the content of The Londoner to put to you?
The Mayor: I think that is a question that we will deal with at the meeting early in
January, when we will all be sitting there together, and you can pick away at the gaps
Bob Neill (AM): Are you not able to answer it now?
The Mayor: Not without going back and checking the detail of all this. If you have a
Mayoral system – whether it is here, or in New York, or it is in Moscow – the Mayor
appoints key aides who they have to trust to drive through what is a vast and diverse
agenda, and the Mayor is ultimately responsible, and the Mayor will get the blame from the
public at the ballot box, if it goes wrong. I think London and I are incredibly well-served
by the talent of the team that is immediately around me, and those people outside in the
business and transport community and others who have had to deal with them share that
view. We have assembled the sort of team here that you would normally find around people
running a nation, let alone a city.
Angie Bray (AM): Since you have already referred in so elliptical fashion to your Deputy
Mayor in your discussions about the London Plan, could I just say that clearly something
does seem to be wrong at the top, because you are admitting that you do not know half the
answers that go out in your name, and it is quite clear that your Deputy does not always
know that she has actually asked questions, which apparently have gone out in her name,
because she was somewhat surprised, as it turns out, to get an answer on the future of the
City of London police, she said she had not realised that she had actually asked that
Do you not think that Londoners would not be at all blamed if they said, „Who the hell is in
charge of this place?‟
The Mayor: I am. There are a lot of people sitting here who have functioned as a leader of
London borough councils. All of them, at the time, have presided as leader over policies
they personally did not agree with, or I will be amazed if that is not the case, and that is part
of the groups they have to assemble, the interests they have to balance. Although, at the
end of the day, I can impose my will on virtually any aspect of this, it is much better to get
to a consensus amongst both staff I have brought into the building and the staff you have
Angie Bray (AM): The difference is they do not always then blame the unnamed other staff
for things that go wrong, when they do not want to take responsibility for them.
The Mayor: I have never blamed anybody else.
Angie Bray (AM): You do. You suggest that it is other people, other than yourself.
The Mayor: No, I accept full responsibility for everything that is done is my name.
Angie Bray (AM): That is not the same as, you know, just actually saying, „I made a
mistake.‟ You say, „Oh, somebody else made a mistake.‟
The Mayor: You are asking me, basically, to lie and say I specifically do everything, I see
everything that goes out. I do not.
Angie Bray (AM): Well, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot take all the credit and
not take the blame, and that does seem to be what you are doing.
The Mayor: No, I would actually like you to go back over the 24 years I have had – well, 30
years I have had some degree of executive responsibility in local government and find any
instance where I blamed an officer working for me for something that went wrong.
Angie Bray (AM): Well, you just say, „Oh, somebody else did it, and I did not know they
had done it.‟
The Mayor: I have always taken responsibility. That is why people are so loyal and like me
Tony Arbour (AM):. At the Assembly meeting on 20 October, we had a debate about
affordable housing, and I suggested to you that one of the ways in which we could deal with
the problem of affordable housing was to lower the threshold for obliging developers to
provide affordable housing from 15 to 10. Your observation on that was, „I agree with you.
I think it is absolutely excellent.‟
When this particular matter went to the Secretary of State, because you, in your wisdom,
thought that Richmond‟s affordable housing policy was wrong, the Minister overruled you
and applauded our policy. Your press statement on the matter said how pleased you were
that the Minister had obliged the London Borough of Richmond to impose a threshold of
10, rather than 15. Now then, which of those is right?
The Mayor: I think the emphasis may have been slightly off on the press statement there. I
said to the Deputy Prime Minister when I met him, „I think this decision was wrong.‟ I
think you should have had to come in at 50%. I am delighted that he took the decision to
endorse the 40%, and we will now, of course, push for that to become London-wide, and I
am delighted that in Westminster, he has gone for the 10 homes, as well as the 50%, and
therefore, quite clearly on balance, we have not got everything we wanted, but I think it is a
big step forward.
Tony Arbour (AM): It is you talking with several voices. There was an enormous amount
of publicity in the local press, orchestrated by your press office, sending out that press
release, which portrayed me as some kind of supine villain who was having some policy
forced upon me. I wonder, in the spirit of openness and honesty, and in the endeavour to
get everybody to like you, even me, whether or not you would put out a press release
saying, „I was wrong. The press office, got it a bit wrong, and Tony Arbour is a saint.‟
The Mayor: I just said, I think the emphasis was slightly off. I am sure this will be
splashed across the front of the Richmond Times.
1768/2004 - Structure of British Transport Policec
Does the Mayor believe that the structure of BTP should be reviewed to better reflect the needs of
The Mayor: I will welcome any review of the structure of the BTP that helps to ensure
enhanced close working between the BTP and TfL for the benefit of all transport users in
London, including rail passengers in the suburbs. My personal preference would be for the
creation of a single unit of the BTP with responsibility for London and the surrounding
commuter rail network, but the operational implications of this change would need to be
Dedicated railway police provide a vital service to London‟s travellers, and TfL has been
working closely with the BTP to improve services. In particular, additional funding has
been provided for the recruitment of 200 new officers dedicated to providing a reassurance
role on the Underground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and at interchanges, and 30
additional officers will now be deployed on the North London Rail Line to improve services.
However, changes may be constrained by the current BTP funding structure, which places
reliance on funding from the rail operators, though I believe more funding by the national
rail industry is needed.
The recent plans for an enhanced role for TfL and myself in London rail services will give
additional focus on police responsibilities for commuter rail services.
Joanne McCartney (AM): I wonder if you would consider cross-cutting indicative policing
numbers for overground rail companies, so you could guide them into what you would
expect, if TfL were the franchising body in this respect.
The Mayor: Now, we are in a position where, on the Tube network, we have 600 staff, but
on all London suburban services, we have only 500. I think we clearly now, (given the
much more extensive suburban network, a much larger number of stations), have a right to
expect to see the train operating companies and Network Rail, aim towards the same level
of coverage we are giving. Do not forget, on both New York and the Moscow subway
systems, they have 10 times the number of police that we had before we had this increase.
Valerie Shawcross (AM): Do you think it is possible that the long battle for adequate
funding the BTP have fought to get sufficient money out of the train operators could have
something to do with the fact that, essentially, the train operators have a conflict of
interest? One of the BTP‟s tasks is to investigate and pursue actions in the case of major
incidents and accidents, and they may well end up investigating and pursuing action against
their funders. Do you think there is a potential conflict of interest there for the train
operating companies in the fact that they are required to fund BTP?
The Mayor: Well, I have to say that I would hope not. If part of the reason for the under-
funding of policing is the fear that more police might actually bear down more heavily on
investigating the various accidents and loss of life, and perhaps lead to further prosecutions
of the executives, I have to say, that is an amazing possibility. One would hope that no
company director – however venal – would take that view. I have to say, we might need to
look at this, though. There is clearly a conflict of interest.
Murad Qureshi (AM): To ensure better coordination of the policing of TfL services, would
you support the transfer of the BTP officers assigned to Croydon Tramlink for their
funding to the London Underground division?
The Mayor: Oh, I did not realise there was a problem on this, so if we could talk about this
later on. I was not aware that this was a problem.
Richard Barnes (AM): Mr Mayor, not only do you seem not to read everything that goes
out from this building, you do not seem to read everything that comes into it.
The Mayor: Well, that would be rather typical.
Richard Barnes (AM): In the answer to the question to Joanne McCartney, if we could
refer her to the Department for Transport of September 2004, they have actually already
done a review of BTP, and maybe if we had joined up government between yourselves, the
Members opposite, and the Government, we could actually save some money and stop doing
extra reviews. Why do we not just look at this one and adopt that, rather than go through
planted questions with the other side, so you can expand your empire?
The Mayor: Can I say, we do not plant any questions. Nothing would be a worse waste of
my time or my senior officers‟ time than to sit here drafting questions for me to answer. I
much prefer the more robust knockabout, when you are going for my throat.
1830/2004 - London Underground Pay Deals
The Guardian on 24 November suggested that the 35-hour week negotiated with London
Underground station staff ‘permits all-night services on New Year’s Eve and paves the way for later
running on Friday and Saturday nights’. What are the consequences for this deal if, for whatever
reason, these benefits for customers do not transpire?
The Mayor: The agreement reached with station staff mixed the extension of the traffic day
on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is no impact on other parts of the deal, if this
particular part of the agreement was not implemented. London Underground will operate
all-night services on New Year‟s Eve.
Roger Evans (AM): You have given your friends in the Rail, Maritime and Transport
Union (RMT) – at least the station staff – 52 days off a year. How much are fares going to
have to rise for passengers to pay for that?
The Mayor: Not a penny. That was the terms of the deal I spelt out to this Assembly last
summer, that however many days‟ strike there was, there would be no fare increase or
increase in council tax to pay for an increased wage deal. The increase of nine days – which
is all it is – is because they are working 2.5 hours extra a week, and then banking it to take
nine extra days off.
Roger Evans (AM): How are you going to pay for it, then, because there were some gasps
of incredulity around the table just now when you were saying that?
The Mayor: There is no question of it not being paid for within the package we set in the
summer. I made absolutely clear to this Assembly that the money available for the deal was
finite. It was up to the trade unions to negotiate that. We had given a commitment to a 35-
hour week. Unions have chosen to keep the 37.5-hour week, but bank the extra 2.5 hours.
There is no extra cost at all.
Roger Evans (AM): You talked at the time, about making some money back from efficiency
improvements in London Underground, but you did not tell us in detail what you were
planning to do. Is the proposal to cut 76 jobs for signallers and controllers, and lengthen
their shifts to 12 hours – which Bobby Law (RMT regional officer and London organiser),
also from the RMT is objecting to today – a part of your efficiency package which is going
to pay for the things you have already conceded?
The Mayor: I gave you all an assurance, as well, that I am not involved in negotiations
with RMT or any of the other unions. Unions occasionally come to see me. I listen to the
point they make, but they then have to deal with Tim O‟Toole to carry this package
forward. The instructions to Tim O‟Toole and Bob Kiley were quite clear. They can
change the rota system; they can do whatever they like. The financial package is not to be
Roger Evans (AM): Are you saying it is not a part of the package, or you do not know it is
a part of the package?
The Mayor: I do not have the slightest idea whether that particular part is part of another
set of negotiations or arising out of this. Originally, there was talk of about 200 jobs being
abolished. Many of those were not currently filled. Nevertheless, I am not going to get
involved in the detail of rail negotiations. You have always made the case to me I should
not be. It would totally undermine the credibility of the Underground managers we
brought in and would lead to a complete disintegration. It was also a clear undertaking that
Bob Kiley wanted when he was accepting this job that he be allowed to manage it.
Roger Evans (AM): I am not asking you to get involved with negotiations. I am asking
you to explain what is being conceded by Londoners, which I think we would all agree is a
part of your responsibility. Now, this proposal to save 76 jobs amongst signallers and
controllers is actually the subject of a separate ballot which is going to be telling us whether
signallers are going to be working on New Year‟s Eve or not. Is there any coordination
between what is going on here, or is it just a case of different parts of the network bidding
up to get concessions from you, and then other people wading in behind them?
The Mayor: No. We have inherited a nightmarishly complicated system – different staff on
different wages and conditions, lots of holdovers and anachronisms – and it will be some
time sorting those out. The controllers are a particular case in point. It is not a system you
would have created in terms of their wages and conditions, and it is now up to Tim O‟Toole
and his team to try to bring that to a resolution. I cannot get involved in those
negotiations. Otherwise, every negotiation will just come straight to the Mayor. You have
to establish that principle and stick to it. The trade unions negotiate with Bob Kiley and
Could I also say that I do not think it is good for your political health to rely too much on
press statements from the unions involved, who clearly are putting their own particular spin
on all of these deals, often not wholly accurate, and often usually positioning for the next
round of union executive elections. If you want to understand what is going on, pop over or
ask Tim O‟Toole to come over and take you all through it. I really do not think it is safe to
rely on what trade union press releases are saying, given that they are all there competing
for the same members in quite a small pool of staff and looking to portray themselves as the
best defenders of wages and conditions.
Roger Evans (AM): Well, that is an interesting insight into London union politics from
someone who knows a little bit about it. What Londoners would appreciate from you,
though, is not necessarily getting involved, but an assurance that everything is under
control. When we last discussed this in October, you stated in response to a question from
me about New Year‟s Eve industrial action: „I have seen this mentioned in the papers, but I
do not think the papers have accurately reported the situation. I do not anticipate industrial
action on New Year‟s Eve.‟
Can you still assure Londoners that their Tube system will be running and will not be
crippled by strikes on New Year‟s Eve?
The Mayor: That was absolutely right at the time. Clearly, new disputes have arisen, i.e.,
the controllers are one. We now have the dispute about a driver who has been given a nine
months‟ demotion for passing four red lights, none of which can be explained. Now, we are
under a lot of pressure from people who say you really have to tighten up on safety, and I
would deeply regret a trade union going on strike on a disciplinary issue, where we have not
been unjust. The person remains in employment and will be allowed to re-train and come
back to being a driver.
If a motorcar driver passes four red lights and gets caught, they are very likely to find they
have lost their licence at the end of it, and someone who is driving a train with the
responsibility of hundreds of lives has to accept that passing red lights is not acceptable.
There are always going to be marginal cases. None of these four is a marginal case.
Therefore, that was not something we could have foreseen back in the autumn. It has come
up again, and I do not think we should make a concession on it.
Darren Johnson (AM): Going back to the original question, when can we expect some later
running on Friday and Saturday nights of the Tube, and are the main obstacles to progress
at the moment employee issues or technical issues?
The Mayor: The main obstacle is the fact that on Saturday morning, 20,000 people use the
Underground in that hour which would be lost, and on Sunday morning 35,000, so 55,000
Londoners on a Saturday or Sunday would find their means – and most of them are going to
work – gone. Therefore, rather than just simply impose this, because those are going to be
genuine losers, we are going through consultation. We are alerting them to the fact this
might be coming. We are talking to business organisations, transport groups, because
clearly, if it is possible, for many of those people, their employer can just shift their hours of
work to reflect that.
Many of these people are going in to clean offices and so on. That is fine. It might be that
there are particular flows of those people where an increase in the bus service might satisfy
it, but a lot of them are making quite long journeys, and so it is really to try to make sure
we minimise the inconvenience to those people who are going to lose the hour in the
Darren Johnson (AM): Are you still committed to going ahead with later running tubes?
The Mayor: I am, because three times that number of Londoners, at least, will benefit by
the late night, and as well, anything that improves the situation for late night travel will
further reduce the chances of illegal mini-cab operators preying on their victims.
Darren Johnson (AM): When the consultation has finished and so on, when can we
actually expect them to get this all late night tube running?
The Mayor: It will take about six months to change the rosters, so by the time the
consultation has gone through. The rotas are changed on a six-monthly basis, so we will
most probably just miss the possibility of doing it for June, and it will more likely be
1944/2004 - Transport for London
Peter Hulme Cross
At Mayor’s Question Time on 20 October, you said that ‘you cannot get much beyond what we are
expecting people to pay’ on Underground fares. TfL’s Five Year Plan states that if fares do not rise
above inflation, other charges must be raised further to compensate. Does this mean that you plan to
raise bus fares further to pay for the Underground, or that you plan to raise the Congestion Charge
further to pay for them both?
The Mayor: The Spending Review 2004 settlement reached with Government did not
provide everything TfL had bid for. Therefore, TfL had to make some hard decisions on
both spending priorities and fares to produce a financially balanced Business Plan. TfL‟s
new Business Plan of 2005-06 to 2009-10 is predicated upon above-inflation increases in
fares, the Congestion Charge, and other transport-related income.
In September, I announced the newest fares package, which included retail price index plus
10% increase on bus fares, to be taken alongside free travel on buses for all under 16 year
olds by September next year and retail price index plus 1% on the Underground. I have
also asked TfL to consult on an increase to the Congestion Charge from £5 to £8 for
private cars. TfL will closely monitor the impact of this year‟s fares increase on Londoners‟
travel patterns, and all findings will feed into next year‟s decisions on fare levels, which are
likely to be of the same order.
Peter Hulme Cross (AM): As you quoted from the Business Plan, which I have here, and
you have quoted exactly correctly that the Plan is predicated on above-inflation increases in
fares, while this Plan remains in force, so Londoners can expect above-inflation increases in
fares for the foreseeable future.
The Mayor: To sustain the Business Plan, we are talking about a 10% increase in fares in
each of the next three Januarys on the bus, and 1% above inflation on the Tube. After that
three-year period, Tube would increase at 1% and continue, but increases in bus fares will
come down to 2%. We think, by that stage, we would have reached the sort of limit in
which you start to lose too many riders to make it viable to continue.
Peter Hulme Cross (AM): I see. You are treating buses as a sort of cash cow, in a sense.
The Mayor: No. With the increase coming in January, fares will be back to the level, in
real terms, I inherited five years earlier, and yet the service has been dramatically improved,
and I think that is why, although we had a quite painful fare increase this January, it had no
impact on ridership, which continued to grow. We have in place quite good, very cheap, off-
peak travel, and for people coming in to work, the question is the reliability of the service.
Clearly, this has to be kept under review, and if we found in January we were wrong, and
there was a sudden, dramatic fall-off in bus passengers, then it would call into question the
next year‟s fare increase. I have to say, both Bob Kiley and myself expect a minimal
reduction in the rate of increase in bus passenger use from this January‟s increase. I think
the following year, January 2006, might start to really impact, but we do not expect that
this increase will have much impact at all.
Peter Hulme Cross (AM): Across the board, you are actually squeezing Londoners. You
are increasing the Congestion Charge to try to get fewer people to use their cars. You are
increasing bus fares on a rolling basis, by a quite considerable amount. You are also
increasing Tube fares, so the cost of transportation in London is simply increasing well
above, I would submit the cost of inflation.
The Mayor: Yes, and we have to do it quite deliberately, because we have to have the flow
of income to pay the debt service on the £2.9 billion we will borrow to unleash the
programme of investment, which means the East London Line, the Greenwich Waterfront
Transit, the East London Transit, a whole range of interchange works and so on, and
further expansion of the bus service.
It is exactly the same position as taking out a mortgage to buy a house. You have, initially,
two or three very difficult years, but gradually, you would end up being a real beneficiary,
because you have a home of your own. Londoners will have a painful few years with these
fare increases and the Congestion Charge increase, but by the end of this decade, we will
have a city whose transport system is dramatically improved on the one we inherited four
Roger Evans (AM): Why did you not publish your Business Plan before the election?
The Mayor: We did. Every year, we have published a Business Plan with all the same
proposals in it, but every year it was aspirational, because we just went back to Government
and said, „We would like to do all this. Please give us some money.‟ This July, to my
amazement, the Government turned around and said, „We will not give you all the money.
We will give you £798 million over the next five years, but we give you permission to go
and borrow £2.9 billion.‟
I suspect I am the only local authority leader ever to issue a bond. The great call of the
Liberals for decades – „Let local authorities issue a bond.‟ I have finally done it. We did it
last week. We were oversubscribed five times. We have now raised £200 million. I have
to say, of course, the first thing that happened was Lynne Featherstone said, „Why are you
doing this? It is all very expensive.‟ That is just par for the course.
Roger Evans (AM): We know the record the Liberals have in that respect, Mr Mayor, but
why did you not publish your fare proposals before the election?
The Mayor: I never believed that the Government would decide that of all the local
authorities in Britain, I could be the one and the only one to issue bonds. If I had sat here a
month before the last election and said, „Do not worry. After the general election, Gordon
Brown‟s (Chancellor of the Exchequer) Treasury will personally make me the first local
authority figure in British history – or certainly, in post-War history – to have the freedom
to issue a bond,‟ you would have died laughing, and I would not have believed it myself, and
I almost fell into my swimming pool – because I was on holiday when I heard the news –
when Jay Walder (Managing Director of Finance and Planning, TfL) said, „The
Government is going to give us the permission to borrow.‟
Roger Evans (AM): I thought you might have been saying something more like, „Do not
worry, everybody. Gordon Brown is going to allow me to incur a huge debt on your behalf
and leave you with the mortgage for paying it off over many years.‟ Nevertheless, is not the
reason that you did not say that, and you did not tell Londoners before the election about
how you were going to plug a black hole in your finances, because it actually would have
clashed with what you were saying then, which was that fare increases would be held at an
inflationary level for the next four years? It was not true, was it?
The Mayor: We have the choice. We can do that. I could say in response to Peter‟s
(Hulme Cross) question, „No, we will continue to keep fares at these levels in real terms, but
we could not then borrow £2.9 billion. We do not have to increase fares above the rate of
inflation, if we are prepared to forego the borrowing of £2.9 billion for capital investment,
and that is the reality of it. We have no black hole in our budget. Our budget is balanced.
If we want to borrow £3 billion, we actually have to increase our income to pay for it.
Angie Bray (AM): Sorry, but you did not actually tell Londoners before the election that
those were your choices. You were not saying to them then, „Sorry, you have to get real
here. You have got to put up with this, or you have to put up with that.‟ You were not
telling Londoners that that was the only choice on the table. You were telling Londoners,
„We have it under control‟, and that Gordon Brown was going to give you all the money
that you needed to make their lives wonderful.
All this banging on about your bond and how wonderful it all is, the truth is you are being
forced to have to borrow that money, so it is not money that Londoners have actually been
given. It is money that Londoners are going to have pay for, one way or the other, because
today‟s borrowing is tomorrow‟s taxes, and the fact is you are having to do it, because you
did not get all the money you wanted from Gordon Brown, and that is why you have had to
borrow. What the Government has said to you is, „Go away, Mr Mayor. If you want to
spend all this money on lovely, sparkly new things, you are going to have to borrow it, and
Londoners are going to have to pay for it, because you are not getting a penny from us.‟
That is the truth of it, is it not?
The Mayor: No, it is not. I did not believe for one minute the Government would give me
the freedom to issue bonds.
Angie Bray (AM): You told Londoners they would.
The Mayor: That is why, throughout the campaign, Steve Norris (Conservative Mayoral
candidate) took a quite honest position that if he were elected Mayor, he would cancel
almost all of these projects – the Thames Gateway Bridge, the tram, everything else, were
going to go. Meeting after meeting, we debated, and he said, „If I am elected Mayor, we
cannot afford these projects. They will be cancelled.‟ My worry throughout the campaign
was not that we were going to have huge fare increases. My worry was that I would have
to spend much of the summer and autumn putting into mothballs all these schemes. That
was my worry.
Angie Bray (AM): It was our hope.
The Mayor: I am delighted that we have got those schemes going forward. It is going to
be painful in the short term, but you are going to find a city that is a pleasure to live in at
the end of this decade.
Bob Neill (AM): Can we just get it clear, then? Can you tell us now: are the debt charges
for the borrowing going to met from fares or from the council tax?
The Mayor: They will be met from the fares and the Congestion Charge increase.
Bob Neill (AM): Nothing on council tax? Can you give us such assurance?
The Mayor: Well, as you see in my proposed budget, I am not proposing an increase in the
council tax for TfL.
Bob Neill (AM): What about for the future?
The Mayor: Well, you also have to bear in mind that, given that my priority for the council
tax is to increase policing levels – and we have had a really generous settlement this year…
I do not think many of us expect it can be as generous again next year and the year after to
complete the roll-out - so the first call on the council tax in my administration will be to
get extra police on the streets, and therefore I will look to TfL, through its own means of
income, to fund its debt.
Bob Neill (AM): You are on record as saying you could not conceive of circumstances in
which you would increase the Congestion Charge beyond inflation. What happened?
The Mayor: London has been given the opportunity, after 40 decades of under-investment,
to start a programme of long-term transport investments dwarfing the scale that New York
had in the 1980s, and this is before we get to 17 February and Parliament receiving the
Crossrail Bill, which is another £9 or £10 billion on top, where we are expecting the
Government to make a substantial contribution on an annual basis and well in excess of
£150 million a year.
Bob Neill (AM): Prudential borrowing and the prospect of raising bonds was being talked
about when you made that pledge. Why did you break your word?
The Mayor: Everyone‟s been arguing that local government should have the right to issue
bonds. It is a position I think the Liberals have been right on. I have supported it all the
way through. Finally it has happened. If I were not Mayor, but leading some other
authority, I would be leading the campaign now, „We want what the Mayor of London has.‟
Bob Neill (AM): That came along, so you then broke the word that you had previously
The Mayor: No, I did not. Aware of the fact that I thought we might not be able to take
most of these projects forward, I went through that election at every debate saying, „If the
Government gives us another £1 billion a year, no problem. It can all happen. I do not
expect to get £1 billion a year, and therefore there are going to be very difficult choices
after the election.‟
Bob Neill (AM): But why could you not conceive of increasing it and then go back on it?
That is what we are trying to get at.
The Mayor: I could not conceive that Gordon Brown was going to personally decide that
out of all the local authority leaders in Britain, I was the one he loved so much he was going
to borrow money in a bond issue.
1933/2004 - Rail Services in Greater London
Do you believe that the additional powers you are to be given over commuter rail in Greater London
in the forthcoming Railways Bill will enable you to give Londoners any serious improvement in the
standard of their travelling experience during your second term?
The Mayor: That will depend on the extent of additional powers over the suburban rail
network. This has not yet been determined. London‟s rail users are already seeing the
benefits of increased investment on various routes in London. Over £10 million will be
spent this year, primarily to improve passenger safety and security on stations and trains.
In the next year, TfL is planning to spend over £14 million to improve passenger
environment on Silverlink Metro, northeast London routes, and southeast London lines.
This will include enabling the installation of CCTV on stations and trains, passenger help
points, and improved lighting and real-time customer information systems.
With the East London Line project under TfL control, with significant investment plans to
improve station facilities on all Silverlink and South Eastern routes, London‟s rail users will
be able to look forward to the establishment of an orbital route around London and
significantly improved standards for passengers in areas ignored prior to TfL‟s investment
programme. However, with the final provisions of the Act not yet clear, I will need to wait
until these powers have been granted before being able to confirm what I will be able to do
as a result.
Dee Doocey (AM): Can I ask you about the train operating companies. You have been
quite critical in the past about their lack of cooperation when you have been trying to
improve services. Have you any reason to believe that under the new legislation, they are
likely to be more cooperative?
The Mayor: Well, the new legislation is basically an enabling Act, and therefore, the
Government is in a position where it can progressively squeeze them further. I think they
must be recognising both Government and public patience is running out. Certainly, I will
continue to press, because what I want from Government – and this is a case I make to
Tony McNulty (Minister of State, Department for Transport) and Alistair Darling
(Secretary of State for Transport) – I wish that TfL should become the franchising
authority for all suburban services ending at a London terminus.
We would then be able to determine where they stop. Far too many trains go through key
stations like East Croydon, West Croydon, that do not stop, and you would actually think it
is right that Londoners should be able to get on them. One would be able to enforce them
to bring their ticketing policies into line with the Oyster Card, and then, of course, you
would get onto things like levels of policing and all of that, and we could use the same
contracting regime that has allowed us to improve the bus services. Now, my guess is that
once the SRA is abolished, the first instinct of Government will be to try to do it all itself,
and it has let me have some influence over the four little groups that we talked about, and it
will be the passage of another couple of years before there is any real devolution of the sort
of power I want.
Dee Doocey (AM): I appreciate that you do not know exactly what is going to end up in
the Bill, but are you hopeful, for example, that you will be allowed to introduce a zonal fare
structure and smart ticketing for both Tubes and trains under the new legislation?
The Mayor: We are close to that. The Government is very strongly pressing the train
operating companies to come into line with this. Two or three of them – well, I think four
of them – have been very positive, and I think we will see… I think it is going to be messy,
but I think we will end up with some train operators coming in on the zonal system, and
others not. I think that the ones that stay out will come under increasing pressure to come
in. There is a question later on about the most complicated fare system, in the world, and
we want to get to a simpler one. A part of the success, the big boost in the buses, is not just
the improvement of service, but it is the fact there is a very simple fare structure.
Dee Doocey (AM): You do not think that you are going to be able to put any systems in
place in order to stop one or two of the train companies wrecking the system for everyone
The Mayor: I suspect Government pressure and my pressure will eventually bring them all
into line, but I have to say, your colleague Graham (Tope) can entertain you at great length
about how long it took us just to get them to allow schoolchildren to travel free, with me
picking up the bill. It was 18 months to two years, so I would not hold your breath, or
there will be a by-election. (Oh no, there would not, would there).
Murad Qureshi (AM): In advance of the new powers and duties, Mayor, what steps are
TfL likely to take to influence the suburban railways?
The Mayor: We did get to having a fairly good relationship with the SRA, although we had
some fairly sparky rows about the East London Line and Crossrail, and where they wanted
stations or not, and then Government sort of wound them up, and the guidance I had issued,
we had to build a consensus with them. Now, with Government, we do have a very
powerful ally in Tony McNulty who, as a London-based MP and is also Transport
Minister, recognises I think the rationality of our proposals.
I just think it is going to be a fair old time. Literally, just imagine it. Here is a national
train set. Of course, civil servants will want to play with it first, before they pass it on to us,
a bit battered, no doubt.
1874/2004 - Olympic Lottery Tax
What progress have you made in convincing the Labour Government to commit all the proceeds of the
proposed Olympic Lottery towards the cost of developing the venues for the London Olympic Games?
How many ministers have you met with to push this issue forwards?
The Mayor: As I have previously said, I believe it would be good for the Games if the
Chancellor agreed to reinvest the tax from the Olympic Lottery in the Games themselves.
However, I remain confident that the funding package I have already agreed with the
Government will provide all the investment needed to prepare for the Olympic and
Paralympic Games. We are not relying on this extra funding to make all the preparations
necessary for the Games.
In the light of this settled funding agreement, this is an excellent package for London and
marks us out from our competitor cities. I have not met any Minister to push this issue
forwards. This is not a matter of urgency at the moment. If and when the Government
announces that this tax will be made available, I will make the case for London. I do not
expect any progress on this until we see the outcome of the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) vote next July.
Bob Blackman (AM): Can we just confirm the view that you previously had, given that you
seem to change your mind on some of these things, that actually the Lottery tax should
come to fund the Olympic Games, rather than just reside in the Treasury.
The Mayor: Well, I think we may very well find that national pressures say it should be
spread around the whole country. If we win the bid in July, the reality is that Londoners
will put in about 9.5% of the total cost of the Games. Everyone forgets the business
contribution that comes in, because this huge amount of jobs and money is made out of all of
this, and we have already said that four of the stadia – sports facilities – will be dismantled
and reassembled in other parts of the country.
A lot of the other regions and MPs around the country will be saying, „Well, London has
had this huge benefit. Some of the income of this should be spread around sports facilities
nationally.‟ I would not disagree with that, but we would certainly like a big chunk of it for
Bob Blackman (AM): The issue is going to be, if any cost overruns take place, Londoners
pick up 50% of the tab. Now, the issue here is one of a direct contribution that, not only
Londoners, but everyone can make towards the Lottery funding, that would then lead to a
possible contribution towards developing the venues. Now, it only seems fair and right and
reasonable to everyone – including yourself, originally – that all of that money should go
towards funding the Games, rather than a position of the Treasury taking 12% and then
using it for whatever purposes they wish.
Now, you seemed to have agreed with us previously that that was the position, but you
seem to be withdrawing from that position now.
The Mayor: Well, no. If you actually take the totality of the negotiations I had with the
Government, it is over every area. Yesterday, I was negotiating with the Deputy Prime
Minister about a huge increase in housing provision in London. Clearly we stand to be
major beneficiaries of that. Later this week, I am negotiating with Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Ministers about funding for the low-emission
As I am at all the meetings with Ministers, I have a balance about where we are winning,
where we are losing. You had a question down about the settlement on policing. It is the
most generous settlement the police have had in 10 years. We have done very well, indeed.
Earlier Len (Duvall) and I were both having to say we thought we might not be able to get
five teams out in London. We have got the five. The council tax increase will be the lowest
we have ever had. All of it, I suspect, virtually will go for additional policing, as well.
We have had a good year. We have had a very good year. We have got the funding for the
Thames Gateway Bridge, and I have to say, when I meet Ministers, they are really getting
in the know. Manchester has not got the money for its tram extension, yet we have got £3
billion borrowing permission to actually do a lot in London. The rest of the country is
watching us like hawks. We could get someone to total up how much extra we have got
since the GLA was established. It is a very impressive package, because we are here to
make the case.
You do not want to provoke a backlash here. London will be transformed by the Olympics.
There will be thousands of jobs, thousands of homes, vast profits for a lot of firms, a lot of
which will be reinvested in London. A lot will be made outside, and I expect there is going
to be a real degree of envy in much of the rest of the country. You see what we are getting,
and they are not.
1773/2004 - CCTV in Trains
When will we get CCTV inside trains?
The Mayor: Some trains operating on suburban services in London are already equipped
with on-train CCTV. TfL are currently working with Silverlink Trains and Wagon
Railway to equip all trains operating on the North London Line, the local service to
Watford, and Great Northern suburban services with on-train CCTV. We are also working
with „one‟ railway to secure a similar installation on all trains operating inner suburban
services out of Liverpool Street, and with Southern Railway, the trains operating out of
Victoria and London Bridge.
TfL expect on-train CCTV to be a part of the specification for new trains to be provided for
London commuter services. Some train operating companies are undertaking installation as
part of separate agreements with the SRA. As rolling stock is refurbished or replaced under
the PPP programme on the Tube, CCTV will be provided in all of those trains. CCTV is
currently fitted on the Northern and Jubilee stock. Installation on all trains is planned to
coincide with refurbishment or replacement of the stock. This will take several years, but I
think everyone now accepts you have to have it.
Valerie Shawcross (AM): My key concern is about the mismatch – I think everybody
shares this – between the improving safety standards we now have on the buses and the
Underground and the appalling situation on the overground system. The Association of
Train Operating Companies (ATOC) came to see me recently, and they are briefing against
the Rail White Paper. In particular, they are briefing against the proposal that London
should have more responsibility for franchising overground rail in London.
They seem completely unaware of the inadequate customer services on the issue of safety
that many train operators and stations are operating in London. Do you think, given that
your aspiration is to become the key franchiser of overground services in London, that it
would be worthwhile issuing a benchmark standard of security on trains and in overground
stations in London to try to do something to improve a pretty appalling situation? You
only have to go to Brixton Station at 10.30 at night to know how bad it can be.
The Mayor: Well, I think we should start by perhaps making sure Assembly Members and
the public are aware that the rolling programme for introducing this on the Underground
will take several years as we replace all the existing rolling stock, and then look at what
actually is proposed for the train operating companies and how long this is all going to take.
It might very well be, particularly on stations, that we can accelerate things if we get a
We would most probably be looking happily at matched funding, if we could ever get the
train operating companies to put some money up just to get the stuff done. What is not
right is that the whole contribution should come from TfL. We will start by getting at
Members, so they can see what the programme is and how rapidly it is going to come, and
what we can find out from the train operating companies, and what proportion of the
network is going to be covered in which year.
Dee Doocey (AM): I absolutely agree with everything that Val (Shawcross) has said, but
my concern is when we do get these CCTV cameras inside trains, what is actually going to
happen when there is an incident on a train. How is it going to be responded to? Whose
responsibility is it going to be?
I had a very, very nasty experience last night at 7.30pm going home on the Shepperton
train to Hampton, where there were a gang of youths – two girls and three boys. One of the
boys was 11, and the other one was 14, and they were about to have a knife fight in a
carriage, and it really, really was quite disconcerting, to put it mildly. To make matters
worse, the train stopped outside Fulwell for a couple of minutes, before going on to
Hampton. The carriage had emptied out, as people got more and more scared, and there
was nobody in there, except me, two other people, and this gang of youths.
It is fair enough having CCTV cameras, but I think there needs to be some sort of
mechanism in place when the cameras go in place that would alert somebody who would
then alert the police to be at the next station or something. My concern is that somebody is
going to spend a lot of money putting in CCTV cameras, but they will not put in the
infrastructure to back that up. There is no point ringing the police in Hampton, because of
course, they pretend they have never had the call, and if they do say they have had the call,
they tell you there is nothing they can do about it.
The Mayor: Well, by this time next year, 40% of London will be covered by neighbourhood
policing, and what we clearly want to get to is a point where, given a number is known… I
imagine it is not going to be possible to have the driver in the train monitoring CCTV
without causing accidents or something. It might be that the best way forward on this is
for negotiations with the new Commissioner when he comes in, to say that if Londoners get
to have the numbers of the police and so they can quickly get through, someone in Scotland
Yard can say, look, „Train coming into so-and-so station. Can we get a Neighbourhood
Team there rapidly?‟ That might be the best way of tackling it.
I think as well, in about a year‟s time, all buses will have CCTV on, and it is our intention,
when we introduce the free travel for under-16s, to make it absolutely clear bad behaviour
will result in the loss of your Travelcard. Now, that is actually going to be a quite painful
penalty, and I think we might start to see, after some initial flurry of complaints, quite an
improvement in the behaviour of young people on the buses, when they realise they stand to
lose several pounds a week – which I suspect for many parents will come out of the child‟s
money, rather than the parents‟ pocket – if they behave badly, and that might start to set a
standard that would then increase the pressure on the train operating companies to actually
move ahead with proper security on their own trains.
Tony Arbour (AM): You mentioned other funding for CCTV. Crime and Disorder
Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) have been offering money for CCTV provision at railway
stations. Hounslow, for example, have offered money to TfL to prime the pump for CCTV
at Turnham Green. We are going to be extremely lucky if it is going to be installed before
the end of the financial year and that funding is lost.
The Mayor: Who is to blame? Tell me who is to blame, and I will go kick them around a
Tony Arbour (AM): Well, I am happy to tell you that I have kicked Bob Kiley around. I
am sure you would have done it in a more sensitive place than I, and he has undertaken that
this funding will be used, and the CCTV will be in place, but if there are going to be
obstacles put in front of organisations like CDRPs who acknowledge, as most Londoners
do, that this is a very important thing to occur, this ought to be fast-tracked by TfL, because
this funding, as you know, is only available once.
The Mayor: I shall report to Bob (Kiley) about it.
1840/2004 - Affordable Housing
In a recent article in the Estates Gazette it was stated that the demand for 50% affordable housing
was preventing new homes from being built and that some boroughs are not reaching the targets set
in the London Plan. Will you now admit that your 50% target is preventing developments?
The Mayor: No, the facts show that actually the reverse of this true. There is no evidence
to suggest the 50% target is preventing developments. Indeed, according to figures
published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), house building in London is
at its highest level since 1982. The GLA‟s own monitoring shows the conclusion in the
Estates Gazette article is incorrect. The Estates Gazette information relates to a seven-year
period which includes four years before I was elected Mayor, and five and a half years before
I published the draft London Plan. The article was based on a briefing note issued by
Drivers Jonas, which claimed, on the basis of information for selected boroughs, that
boroughs with higher affordable housing targets were failing to meet London Plan targets
on total housing provision.
The exact reverse is the case. For boroughs with affordable housing target of 65% – which
is only one of them – the total net completions as a percentage of their London Plan target
was 118%. For the 12 boroughs with a 50% target, performance against their supply was
115%. This reduced to 109% for the four boroughs with a target of 40%. For the five
boroughs with affordable housing targets of 35%, performance against their supply target
fell to 103%. The boroughs with affordable housing targets of 33% or 30%, performance
varied; it was between 93% and 65% of their target amount.
Housing delivery performance only rose again in the remaining five boroughs still on a 25%
target, though only to 103%. The same with those boroughs on 35%. Across London as a
whole, housing provision target of 23,000 new homes per year was exceeded by over 1,000.
Bob Neill (AM): Who carried out the research for your monitoring figures?
The Mayor: We get the data from the boroughs.
Bob Neill (AM): Who then carries out the assessments here?
The Mayor: Our planning and statistics unit.
Bob Neill (AM): You are happy, therefore, for the raw material to be made available to the
Assembly for scrutiny?
The Mayor: Yes.
Bob Neill (AM): Would you accept, of course, Drivers Jonas is showing a trend over a
number of years, whereas your figures only give us a snapshot of one year?
The Mayor: If you want me to really glow with pride, I could compare them with the
figures for the year I was elected. They are well up.
Bob Neill (AM): Are you proposing to issue figures for every year?
The Mayor: Well, before I was elected, the Greater London Council (GLC) used to collect
figures and had a very good and robust system. That basically fell into… well, there was no
one doing it. We do not trust the figures for before 2000. Increasingly the figures start to
stack up in the year 2000. We, of course, were elected halfway through it. There were
19,850 reported completions. That fell to 18,156 in 2001, went to 21,577 in 2002. In 2003,
it was 24,608.
That includes conversions and non-self-contained accommodation. If you take the more
narrow definition of new build, so you exclude conversions and non-self-contained units, it
was 14,068 in 2001-02, 15,764 in 2002-03, and 18,919 in 2003-04. Therefore, the trend is
strongly up. We still have a long way to go, and I had a very useful meeting, as I said
earlier, with the Deputy Prime Minister about taking a big step forward in increasing
housing supply in London yesterday, which was a complete agreement between himself and
myself, and we will be bringing these proposals forward early in the new year.
Bob Neill (AM): Much of the affordable housing is provided by housing associations. Do
you agree with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that the right to buy should be
extended to housing association tenants?
The Mayor: No.
Murad Qureshi (AM): Do you welcome the ODPM‟s intervention over the City of
Westminster‟s Unitary Development Plan (UDP)?
The Mayor: I raised a small glass in cheer at the wisdom and foresight of the Deputy Prime
Minister when he took this decision. Coming after Richmond, we were a bit worried, and it
really made my day, as they say in the movies.
1737/2004 - Export of Waste
What percentage of London’s recycling is exported to places such as China, and what are you doing to
ensure more of London’s recycling is processed locally in line with the ‘proximity principle’ enshrined
in your Waste Strategy?
The Mayor: The simple answer is I do not know, as this information is not available to me.
Trans-frontier shipments of waste are regulated by the Environment Agency, and the
statistics you are interested in are not held in that particular way. However, as the latest
available data suggests that only 13,536 tonnes of waste were exported from England and
Wales for re-use, recycling, or recovery, I do suspect the proportion is extremely low. The
vast majority of London‟s waste is managed within the UK.
Through the LDA, I provided London Remade with £5.4 million of funding to develop
London‟s recycling markets. As you are aware, London Remade has invested in four eco-
industrial sites for paper, organics, glass, and construction and demolition waste. The total
investment in these sites with private sector partners is over £20 million.
I have also been working with London Remade and the LDA to get a plastic re-processing
plant in London. As a preferred delivery partner, they have secured, and we are now
negotiating on the site of Dagenham Dock Sustainable Industrial Park. The expected
timescale for the plant to be operating is early 2006, and through the LDA, I am continuing
to work with London Remade to develop markets within London, specifically through a
further £1.8 million investment to support and develop reprocessing businesses.
All of this will contribute to developing local markets and, hence, minimise any need for the
export of recyclables.
Darren Johnson (AM): How much waste is now actually being re-processed in London?
The Mayor: I would have to get back to you on that.
Darren Johnson (AM): Even it is not going off to China, we still need to be re-processing
far, far more waste actually in London and recycling it in London. Were you concerned
that over the previous four years, progress was quite slow in terms of getting things up and
running in London and getting these new plants? When can we start seeing more plants
over and above the ones you have already mentioned?
The Mayor: I think, once again, it is a bit like housing figures. I do not trust the figures we
inherited about how much is being recycled in London. There are some good boroughs, and
some abysmal ones, but I think the overall figure for recycling of household waste was
about 6%. I think it is now up to about 12%. The big push has been getting £50 million
out of the Government, which has gone through the boroughs into providing kerbside
Our real drive now must be to make sure everybody uses it. Only half the people on the
routes actually use the system. If we could just get everybody to use it, we could double
recycling, and the position, I think, is that if we do not do this, there is no chance of actually
achieving the targets we want to see. I am optimistic about moving forward. I think part of
our problem was that there was a very close vote in the House of Lords in 1985, when the
GLC was abolished. The House of Lords almost amended the legislation to retain a single
waste authority for London. I think it is a tragedy that did not happen.
The problems we are currently having with West London Waste, where they just do not
have the resources or skill to take forward the programme in the way that we need, I think
is making the case for the GLA becoming the waste authority for London in the way we are
the transport and policing authorities, and I am lobbying hard with the Government now to
create a London waste authority, so we can really up our game across the board.
1938/2004 - Sustainable Thames Gateway
How do you reconcile planning 10,000 car parking spaces at Stratford city and similar provision for
Silvertown Quays with the aim of making Thames Gateway regeneration sustainable? Is this not
clear evidence that Labour’s vision for the Thames Gateway has not moved on from Thamesmead?
The Mayor: Parking levels in Stratford City and Silvertown Quays are well within my
London Plan maximum parking standards. The residential parking levels in both schemes
are 30% and 20%, respectively, below my London Plan target of one space per residential
unit. The parking for both schemes includes provision for other uses to support town
centre and community functions.
Stratford City includes retail and office space, hotel, leisure, and community uses, and new
public open space. Silvertown Quays includes a health centre, library, community centre,
new primary school, and retail and restaurant quarter for the Royal (Docks). Both schemes
will deliver high-density, mixed-use developments that bring brown-field land back into use
and create new economic opportunities in areas that are currently in need of investment.
Dee Doocey (AM): I am actually quite disappointed with that answer. I do not agree that
they are within your London Plan. Your London Plan says that parking provision should
take account of public transport. As Stratford is very well-served with public transport, the
10,000 car parking spaces break down as 5,000 spaces for retail, 3,800 residential, and 1,200
for office and hotel parking. 5,000 for retail is well in excess of the standards. It should be
nearer to 3,100, and as somebody who is always banging on about sustainable communities
– and with a genuine belief that that is what we ought to be building, I find it quite
disappointing that you have agreed that 10,000 car parking spaces is relevant for this area.
The Mayor: I agree; I share your disappointment. I would have preferred the figures be
lower. We were in long and intensive negotiations with the developer on the level of
parking, the level of affordable housing, the amount in terms of energy usage on the site, the
contribution to transport, where the bus routes go, so a huge argument about the Section
106 package went on, I think, well in excess of a year.
At the end of the day you had a trade-off, and the thing on which the developer was
absolutely determined – the thing that mattered the most – was the level of retail parking,
and the developer did not believe that the retail centre would function with less, and the
trade-off was we got more of what we wanted in the other areas, and that was a concession
we made, but you are right. I would have loved to have been able to persuade the developer
to go for less parking.
Dee Doocey (AM): I accept that there have to be swings and roundabouts in these
negotiations, but to go from 3,100 to 5,000 is far too much, and I think you have just been
soft on the developers, and I do not think you should. I am also concerned about the
Thames Gateway Bridge, and I think with such a huge parking facility, all it is going to do
is encourage people to come into the area for high-level jobs and to drive over the bridge
and to park in these parking spaces, and I really do not think that this is in line with what it
is that we are all trying achieve.
The question is will you give us, for the record, a commitment that, in future, you will
consider the Thames Gateway planning applications, so that they actually follow the
London Plan and pursue policies that reduce the need to travel by car?
The Mayor: Yes, but the position we try to strike always is that we have very hard
negotiations, but we always want to get a deal so a development takes place. On this one, I
think it is too much parking, but as part of the trade-off, we have got more of what we
wanted in other areas and less on the parking. We have built in a permanent structure for
reviewing the parking, with the idea that it should be scaled down, and I am optimistic that
as… bear in mind, we are talking about development here that will not be fully on board
until the middle of the next decade.
By the time we get there, perhaps national road pricing – bringing joy to the heart of Angie
(Bray) – will actually have made a dramatic difference in car usage in this country. By that
stage, we will actually have built all the things we are currently speculating about in terms
of Crossrail and in terms of the extensions of the DLR, and there will be immediately one
area you would look to reduce car usage in such a well-served public transport area.
John Biggs (AM): Do you agree, first of all, that the provision of a regional shopping
centre in Stratford is a pretty fundamentally important part of regenerating east London
and providing confidence for people to live and work there?
The Mayor: It is the central part of the scheme. Without that, you will not get the mix of
housing you want. You would not get the jobs that follow. It is pretty central to it.
Developers are always going to be obsessed about the level of parking. We have the same
thing at White City. We would never have agreed the level of parking at White City, if that
had not been agreed before my powers came in.
John Biggs (AM): I suspect the whole room shares the concern about 5,000. We would
prefer to have something closer to 3,000, but is it not the case that the more important
question is whether there is a parking control regime there which will discourage people
from using their cars willy-nilly and will price the car parking in a way that encourages
people to use public transport in exactly the same way as many years ago, before the
charges went up, I used to drive and park just behind John Lewis in Oxford Street. Now, I
would be out of my mind to do that unless I was buying something which required a car to
place it in, but it is the same sort of argument.
The Mayor: Basically, this is something Newham Council have to come to look at in terms
of its parking policy. I would urge them not to be as anti-car as Westminster and go for
perhaps a less rigorous regime in their parking charges.
1751/2004 - Low-Level Crime
What is the GLA Group doing to tackle the sort of low-level crime, which he spoke about at the Acton
People’s Question Time (PQT)?
The Mayor: There are a number of things the GLA Group is doing to tackle low-level
crime. With my support, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) introduced the Safer
Neighbourhoods Programme, which is in operation across London. This programme not
only engages the statutory partners, but also the public, who play a key role in the way
Safer Neighbourhood Teams are deployed in their neighbourhoods. The teams work with
local people to identify quality of life issues. Where our Safer Neighbourhood Teams have
been introduced, public perception about crime levels and the fear of crime has been
Particular examples to tackle low-level crime include issuing Fixed Penalty Notices and
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs). The London Fire Authority is working in
partnership with local authorities to tackle the problem of abandoned vehicles,
environmental crime, and hoax calls and is currently consulting on the draft London Safety
Plan, which has particular emphasis on reducing anti-social behaviour and building
community engagement. TfL has established the TOCU to address and reduce anti-social
behaviour, graffiti, begging, and ticket touting. TfL is also sponsoring improved personal
security through wider CCTV coverage at London‟s National Rail stations.
I brought together the GLA Group under my Crime and Disorder Plus Steering Group to
look at issues of crime and community safety in London. The group is currently looking at
how Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act may be adopted by the GLA Group. In
addition, I have recently commissioned work to look at how women‟s safety in parks can be
improved. This will result in a tool kit for use at local level to ensure issues of women‟s
safety are fully considered in relation to parks and green spaces.
Jennette Arnold (AM): I welcome your reply. I have a couple of concerns that are
bubbling to the surface, and that is a lot of the work that is going on is targeted at young
people, and I recently had the experience – and it is still going on – about trying to get an
ASBO actually to bring about better behaviour by a number of adults, and it is clear from
the experience to date that ASBOs actually are not the tool to use for adults who, for
whatever reasons, are causing a disturbance and making their neighbours‟ lives a misery.
Would you join me in asking that we look at the data as it comes out, because if all this
work is just focusing on young people and ignoring the bad behaviour, the illegal behaviour,
and the anti-social behaviour of adults, then that really is a missing gap?
The Mayor: I would be very disturbed if ASBOs were not working for adults. It depends
what you mean by „adult.‟
Clearly, there are some people in their early teens who do terrible things, but the bulk of the
problems we have is with people in their late teens and in their 20s, and ASBOs need to
work for that group. We will have a look at the points you are making at the next meeting
of the Crime and Disorder Steering Group, because actually, they have to work for that
group. Basically having suffered from people in their 20s living next door and absolutely
intolerable behaviour – it ruined my life for two years – I have to say, I wish we had had the
ASBOs then. Bob Blackman remembers the case, I suspect from the local publicity. People
can just ruin your night, night after night, after night, until you feel suicidal.
Jennette Arnold (AM): Yes. Can I just come back and say, it is the levers associated. The
levers associated are quite powerful levers, and they work against young people.
The Mayor: You want tougher penalties for that.
Jennette Arnold (AM): I want tough penalties for adult men behaving badly, in the same
way that we targeted young people.
The Mayor: I think that is absolutely right. The mentality behind the ASBOs has been
teenagers and younger men. It might be we need to look at a more rigorous penalty regime.
1783/2004 - Fare Evasion
Will you be increasing fines for fare evasion on London buses?
The Mayor: TfL increased penalty fares on buses from £5 to £10 in April 2004. TfL are
looking to make further increases next year as part of a longer-term strategy of an
increasing detection and deterrence of fare evasion.
John Biggs (AM): I think this follows very neatly from the previous question from Jennette
Arnold, because I think Londoners expect there to be more serious sanctions against people
who misbehave publicly, and as we found with the TOCU, people who avoid their fares very
often will be the same sorts of people who do not have a sense of good behaviour on public
transport and possibly cause problems elsewhere in the public realm, so people expect
greater enforcement, but clearly, we are not going to employ thousands and thousands of
The fear or the risk of being caught and of losing your Travelcard and of suffering a penalty
which is materially greater than the cost of the fare – or materially greater than the cost of,
say, five or 10 fares assuming that you are unlikely to meet an inspector on every journey, is
something that would, I think, help to assist this, and certainly, we would be interested in
discussing this with you further.
The Mayor: Clearly, we have only had eight months working of the increase – it came in in
April from £5 to £10 – and the constraining factor here is we want to keep the fines within
a level that allows people to pay on the spot. We do not want a vast increase of court cases
and all the paraphernalia. We actually want on-the-spot fines on that level. Now, clearly
there is still some way to go before we reach that limit, and I would be surprised if we were
not going to find regular annual increases until we reach that limit.
We need to take it stage by stage to see how it works. There are an awful lot of fairly low-
income people on the buses, and some genuinely make mistakes.
John Biggs (AM): Yes, I remember clearly, Chair, that one of the first bunches of casework
I received when elected to this Authority was from people complaining about the penalty
fares on the Underground system, where people who equally felt they had made a mistake,
had travelled beyond their zone, were suddenly penalised, and there was almost a sense
there was a two-tier system, where on the buses, you could get away with it; on the
Underground, increasingly, you could not. I think maybe there is a need to review this and
look at ways in which we could use technology, perhaps to trap people who are abusing and,
basically, stealing from the rest of London.
Elizabeth Howlett (AM): Well, there are a lot of low-income people who do evade fares or
cannot pay for them, but unfortunately, I sometimes have to sit on a TfL court – which I
hate – and your prosecutor charges £120 fine plus £50, so for evasion of a £2 fare, which
they cannot pay, they walk out of court with £170. Then the court has to chase after them.
I think it is iniquitous what TfL impose.
The Mayor: I would rather think in terms of, say, moving to a £20 on-the-spot fine, than
dragging people through the courts, all the delays of the courts, and so on.
Elizabeth Howlett (AM): The trouble is, if they cannot pay on the spot, they end up in
courts, and as you say, sometimes, they have mistaken their route.
The Mayor: I actually think where you are convinced that they were in error, you should
let them off.
1904/2004 - Bernie Ecclestone
What did you discuss with Bernie Ecclestone (owner of Formula One Holdings, which controls
Formula One motor racing) when you met him on 23 November, and if it was to consider a London
Grand Prix, what proposals for consultation do you have before firming up any plans?
The Mayor: The idea for a street motor race in London has been around for some time.
Public interest was fuelled by the Formula One display in central London in July of this
year, organised by Westminster City Council, Crown Estates, and Harvey Goldsmith
(entertainment promoter). I met with Bernie Ecclestone of Formula One management to
understand his thoughts on staging a race in London. I was accompanied by John Ross, my
economic and motor racing advisor, and David Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Visit
We discussed the feasibility and economics of staging a race. The costs of staging a race
were unclear, and Mr Ecclestone undertook to consider an indicative route through
London. I also took the opportunity to reiterate that while we are keen to host the race in
London, we do not want to take anything away from Silverstone. Mr Ecclestone confirmed
the two matters are totally independent. When and if cost estimates were available that we
believe would make a race viable, we would plan to consult on the matter. I have to say, as
well, several representatives of Westminster Council were present at the meeting.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): Presumably, you will consult John Ross on whether or not
he thinks he is qualified to be your motor racing advisor. Can I ask, because I probably only
get one question, how does this square with your concerns about air quality and
sustainability, i.e., I cannot pretend to know a lot about motor racing – practically nothing –
but it strikes me that it is not a very sustainable sport, so bringing this to central London
does not, to me, obviously seem consistent with your plans.
The Mayor: Can I say that the driving force is the tourism you bring in. We have made an
offer to the Tour de France. We offered them £1.5 million, if we could stage the Grand
Depart. We based that calculation on the fact it will bring 2 million tourists to the city. It
is a huge plus. When you look at what people are offering Formula One, you are talking
about, I think Shanghai has just offered £60 million to stage a Grand Prix. We cannot get
into those sort of figures. We would be looking at the sort of sums we have made available
to the Tour de France, if they take it up.
What you do get, effectively, therefore, is a weekend in which the whole focus is of bringing
millions of tourists to London to participate both in the motor race and all the spin-offs
from that – every restaurant, every hotel will have a Grand Prix theme, huge TV coverage,
and so on – but my guess is so much of central London will be closed to normal traffic, that
actually the pollution produced by the Formula One will be more than compensate for by
the fact that with 2 million people in the centre, you would not be able to get a bus or a car
anywhere near it.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): The consultation will be interesting.
The Mayor: It will.
1786/2004 - London’s Street Markets
What steps can the GLA take to promote street markets in London?
The Mayor: Management and provision of individual street markets are essentially
borough matters. However, as I indicated in a response to a recent question, I am
concerned about their loss. I also recognise that new street markets and the promotion of
existing markets can make important contributions to the attractiveness of town centres,
one of the broader objectives of the London Plan. London Plan Policy 3(d)(iii) already seeks
to prevent the loss of retail facilities that provide essential convenience and specialist
shopping. I take this to include street markets, especially if they provide competitive offers
or meet specialist needs, such as the cultural and dietary requirements of black and ethnic
The need for this to be made explicit and promoted through local town centre strategies can
be explored in the forthcoming review of the London Plan. The possibility of including
strategically important individual markets is already being investigated through the sub-
regional development frameworks. In considering applications for major retail
developments, I would expect to take into account their impact on other significant retail
provisions. Where appropriate, this will include street markets.
The LDA has already addressed street market provision through town centre renewal and
other regeneration initiatives, and I will treat others on the merits as they arise. I anticipate
this will also be of concern to my emerging Food Strategy.
Brian Coleman (Chair): Time is called. I would like to take this opportunity of wishing all
Members a very happy Christmas, and a politically peaceful new year. Thank you, Mr