Ken Livingstone: Why isn’t Boris using TfL’s £759m surplus to cut fares?

New figures from TfL show another annual surplus that could be used to cut fares

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Former London mayor Ken Livingstone continues to campaign on transport issues.

Figures just released by Boris Johnson’s transport body show that he misled Londoners during the mayoral election when he said that my plan to cut fares was ‘unaffordable’ and could only be achieved by reducing investment and services.

My policy of cutting fares was one of the most controversial of the recent mayoral contest in London. I pledged to cut fares by 7%, saving average fare payers £1,000 over four years.

Boris Johnson and his supporters made a series of arguments against this. But they rested mainly on the idea that cutting fares was ‘unaffordable’ and could only be achieved by cutting investment. Independent experts agreed with me that fares could be cut without damaging investment.

The latest Transport for London (TfL) accounts for the full financial year 2011/12 ( see table below) show a budget surplus of £759m. This surplus is far greater than the ‘cost’ of the 7% cut in fares I proposed, which, based on last year’s fares revenues would have been £287m.

financial summary TFL

The TfL accounts published last week show another very large surplus on the operating budget of £482mn for the full financial year. In addition there was a one-off payment of £277m. This was not at all part of the original TfL budget, as shown by the black dot in the presentation of the accounts and its complete ‘variance’ with the original budget.

We were told that last year’s surplus of £728m was a one-off. That is clearly not the case. The source of these repeated surpluses is the repeated inflation-busting fares increases from the Tory mayor.


See also:

Does Boris have any idea what he’s going to do in his second term? 8 Jun 2012

Boris’s 9-point plan is a bridge to nowhere 5 Mar 2012

Boris Johnson’s use of statistics are designed to mislead the public 25 Jan 2012

Fact Check fact checked: London’s fares CAN be cut 25 Jan 2012


This is entirely in line with the policies of the current government. The mantra that, ‘There’s no money left’ is patently untrue when fares, rents, energy bills, and so on are rising. Companies like TfL, the big energy companies and landlords are all taking more money from ordinary people and keeping it for themselves. That’s why TfL has huge surpluses.

I won’t be in a position to use the office of mayor to cut fares. But the surpluses haven’t gone away. Fares could still be cut.

The Tory mayor will continue with huge fare increases and build up ever larger surpluses. The danger is these will be an irresistible money pot for the Coalition and an open invitation to slash the subsidy from central government. Londoners already face some of the highest fares of any major world city.

Elsewhere, governments of Left and Right recognise the need to support the costs of public transport. The Tory mayor is imposing a stealth tax on the majority. This might get even worse. The Tory-led government should not be allowed to impose a massive new tax on London’s fare-payers.

Ken Livingstone is a candidate for Labour’s National Executive Committee. Left Foot Forward invites contributors from anyone wishing to pursue progressive policies.

 


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37 Responses to “Ken Livingstone: Why isn’t Boris using TfL’s £759m surplus to cut fares?”

  1. Katie Stanton

    Ken Livingstone has written for @leftfootfwd about yet another TfL annual surplus (£759m!) not being spent on fare cuts //t.co/B9iSjmRN

  2. Political Planet

    Ken Livingstone: Why isn’t Boris using TfL’s £759m surplus to cut fares?: New figures from TfL show another annu… //t.co/hYkP5T8q

  3. Samantha Zdanavich

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/g0yh6zLW

  4. Ken Livingstone

    K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/b9vKljXe

  5. Tom King

    K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/b9vKljXe

  6. Pulp Ark

    Ken Livingstone: Why isn’t Boris using TfL’s £759m surplus… //t.co/vfP1l3cl #PublicServicesforAll #BorisJohnson #muslim #tcot #sioa

  7. George

    K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/b9vKljXe

  8. michael burke

    K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/b9vKljXe

  9. Boris Johnson

    Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? – Left Foot Forward: Ken Living… //t.co/TFvEsOwC #London

  10. Ruby Pearce

    K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/b9vKljXe

  11. Susan Grey

    K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/b9vKljXe

  12. Emma Constantine

    K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/b9vKljXe

  13. Edward Mann

    Ken continues to fight the Mayoral election by lying on fares //t.co/NVge0Qhd #Maybesomeoneshouldtellhimthedate

  14. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Ken Livingstone: Why isn’t Boris using TfL’s £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/WWcpjNGm

  15. Beckenham Labour

    RT @ken4london: K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/TP9oiPdp

  16. Lord Blagger

    Hell we can tax TFL. Lets have a special profiteering tax. Lots of money available if they are making a profit. Hell we could even put on a special tube tax to raise money. After all the tube is congestion, and congestion is bad, so if we tax it, like the congestion charge for cars we can get lots of money

    That can be spent on lots of other things like 5 a day coordinators, and leaving a legacy of pension debts too.

    You know it makes sense. More tax solves everything, doesn’t it?

  17. Selohesra

    I think you will find Ken does not always like more tax – especially when its him paying it

  18. Guest

    Good one

  19. Livealot1964

    Excellent piece. Shows who is benfitting from austerity, and how we can change it.

  20. Finola Kerrigan

    Boris misled Londoners when he claimed a 7% fare cut was unaffordable, by @Ken4London //t.co/OCkQE8vq

  21. Resistance Coalition

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/wsOJP3Sq

  22. Paul Barker

    I thought Ken was retiring from politics, you report his opinions as if he was still your candidate.
    To answer the headline – that money is for investment, desperately neede investment.

  23. Cllr Krupesh Hirani

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/aCNFlWDr

  24. Yrotitna

    Boris misled Londoners when he claimed a 7% fare cut was unaffordable, by @Ken4London //t.co/OCkQE8vq

  25. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/NgjpRBlV

  26. Jon (Bambi) Page

    Boris misled Londoners when he claimed a 7% fare cut was unaffordable, by @Ken4London //t.co/OCkQE8vq

  27. michael burke

    Boris misled Londoners when he claimed a 7% fare cut was unaffordable, by @Ken4London //t.co/OCkQE8vq

  28. Anonymous

    Ah yes, you need to be paid more. Screw the people who are being priced out of transport. What matters is those shares go up. Your priorities, as ever.

    Never mind that simply NOT RAISING THE FARES to levels not required to do anything BUT generate a surplus would do fine, no, you need to go no a rant about how evil it is you’re expected to pay tax.

  29. Anonymous

    That’s right, if you follow HMRC advice you’re in Selohesra’s view a tax avoider. It shows how hostile he and his kind is to the very CONCEPT of paying tax AT ALL!

  30. Anonymous

    Oh, is that what you call your share portfolio. Who profits!

  31. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/N8J7Wjr0

  32. Neil Bradley

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/NgjpRBlV

  33. Nick Hider

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/tZMWxP6J

  34. Sarahmarsham

    “This is entirely in line with the policies of the current government. The mantra that, ‘There’s no money left’ is patently untrue when fares, rents, energy bills, and so on are rising. Companies like TfL, the big energy companies and landlords are all taking more money from ordinary people and keeping it for themselves.” That’s why TfL has huge surpluses.” Thats exactly the mantra I heard when I was made redundant from my frontline local authority job ,strangely enough the cheif executive and middle management and their consultantcy buddies all kept their jobs some of them earn’t as much a £1000 a day . the cheif executive earn’t £250,000 (thats more than Cameron’s salary) on top that there were bonuses, while putting services out to tender in the private sector where workers no rights. This one of the poorest borough’s in London and a Labour borough. I hate the Tories however what stomach curdling and contemptable is a Tory in Red coat. Funny how Ken thinks its perfectly acceptable to squirrel away £300,000 in an offshore account yet Boris can’t earn money from the Tory graph. Ken is somebody who once apon a time who stood for something now he is just a typical career politician who is part of establishment just like the Tories and the Lib Dems they dish overinflated salaries to their friends while the mere mortals frontline staff go in their droves to the dole q.

  35. Jenny Swindells

    Ken Livingstone: Why isn't Boris using TfL's £759m surplus to cut fares? //t.co/m5pIG3Ka

  36. Look Left – Cam and Salm at Leveson, child poverty and saving the NHS | Left Foot Forward

    […] This week’s most read: 1. Why isn’t Boris using TfL’s £759m surplus to cut fares? Ken […]

  37. Joanne Hill

    K: My article for @leftfootfwd on how the latest TfL surplus figures show fares could still be cut: //t.co/b9vKljXe

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