Why I’m sending out Lynton Crosby’s emails

February 18, 2012 8:06 pm

This evening I took the unusual step of emailing my campaign’s supporters today to tell them what Boris Johnson’s campaign director has been telling the Tory candidate’s own backers.

In fact I went one step further and forwarded the Tory email to our supporters’ list because I am convinced that the arguments of the Conservatives are a powerful motivating asset for our own activists. The email shows just how single-minded conservatives are in the determination to keep on raising Londoners’ fares, and why we are one hundred per cent right to cut the fares.

In an email to Boris Johnson’s email list, Tory campaign director Lynton Crosby said today:

“Labour’s chief Transport spokesperson [Maria Eagle] has let the cat out of the bag on Ken Livingstone’s election promise to cut fares. She has confirmed what everybody else knows: there is no money for fare cuts without cutting £1bn worth of investment in services.”

He added:

“It is becoming clearer by the day that either Ken Livingstone has no intention of ever cutting fares, or he is working on a behind the scenes plan to cut £1bn of investment.”

Lynton Crosby needs to wake up and smell the coffee. If elected, I will cut fares on or by October 7th. I will resign if I have not done so by that date, precipitating a by-election. I have never been more committed to anything in my life. It’s why I’m in politics – to put the majority first.

Highly-paid out-of-touch right wing political consultants aren’t going to tell me that improving Londoners’ spending power in tough times is the wrong thing to do.

Boris Johnson’s campaign director has invented a plan to cut investment to scare people. It is the worst kind of politics. Some might call it over-claiming. But it’s just the same old Tory lies.

Our fares plan is paid for out of the annual surpluses caused in no small part because the fares are so high they are bringing in more revenue than planned. It will protect investment and existing services. I will be more effective at delivering investment than Boris Johnson.

Unfortunately for Lynton Crosby his assertion about Maria Eagle’s comments doesn’t stack up. There is not one sentence in what Maria said that gets even close to what the Tory spin claims. She just didn’t say it. That’s what I mean about Tory lies.

The Tory-led government imposed a £2.17billion 4-year grant cut on Transport for London in the 2010 Spending Review. I have based all of my calculations for funding my Fare Deal fares cut on TfL’s revised budget which takes this reduced grant into account.

What Maria Eagle said was that Labour would support a portion of this planned cut – £1.73bn. Meaning that under what Maria Eagle said in the Guardian, there would £440m moreavailable to TfL than there is now.

So my fares cut is affordable under either the existing TfL budget, or Maria Eagle’s alternative.

It seems the Tories don’t understand the transport budget. It looks like they haven’t even read it. And they don’t care about Londoners being squeezed through high fares. They want to do everything they can to keep on whacking the fares up.

Our Fare Deal has unequivocally set the agenda in London.

I want change. If you want to join me in making real change happen, show Lynton Crosby what you think. Donate to our campaign here, today, and give our Fare Deal campaign a boost right now.

Ken Livingstone is Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London

  • 000a000

    It’s an interesting idea, and one that is likely to prove popular. I agree that looking at the accounts it does seem that there is a surplus, so saying there will need to be immediate cuts in investment doesn’t make sense.

    However like many institutions a surplus one year may not reflect future years, and there is a substantial amount of debt on TFL’s books. A fare cut will either lead to a long term requirement to reduce investment, borrow more (and pay interest) or raise fares again to cover the shortfall.

    It’s probably a good thing to encourage people out and about (working, spending) in London given the economic conditions.

    • M Cannon

      The true position has been established by Channel 4: see http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/can-ken-livingstone-deliver-a-fare-deal-for-london/9186

      Mr Livingstone is talking nonsense. 

      • 000a000

        Thankyou very much for the link, I was suspicious to see the lack of numbers on Ken’s site. As Channel 4 states:

        “TfL argues that if Mr Livingstone was to cut fares by 7 per cent, the
        move would reduce the income from fares by £1.12bn over this
        parliament. This money is already factored into the budget and if it
        disappeared it would have to be taken from somewhere else.

        It would be up to the mayor what he where he would plug the gap, but
        TfL said it would most likely delay the upgrade of certain tube or bus
        lines.

        TfL does hold money in reserve (it has £150m in reserve for
        emergencies and reserves of £2.2bn – half of which is set aside for the
        Crossrail project).

        Prof Glaister added: “TfL holds reserves for all sorts of reasons -
        for big capital projects for example, like Crossrail. Or for unexpected
        events - such as the Hammersmith Flyover repairs. That’s unbudgeted for,
        I imagine.””

        Ken hasn’t invented magic money then.

      • Chas999

        He is not talking nonsense; Livingstone is telling lies, as he always does.

  • David O

    I personally would like to see the withdrawal of all free transport for kids over 5……..and replace it with a scheme where all under 18′s in full time education, with the appropriate oyster card are permitted free travel on journeys started between 7.30-9.00am and 3.00-6.00pm. Travel outside of these times and a fare of £1 is charged.

    Kids are getting too lazy jumping on buses to go one or two stops….charging them and their parents for travel outside of ‘school commute’ times will hopefully get them a bit healthier, and help get fares lower for everyone

    • Kirabo

      This sounds very good. However, when my children were young, we needed fares to go to recreational activities that help children to develop and stay out of trouble. I found it very costly to pay fares for them, and contributions towards my costs as a volunteer did not cover my  children’s fares, only mine.

  • Kirabo

    Good work, keep it up. Kirabo

  • Realist

    Still no surplus at TFL. It would be helpful to base an argument on facts. The fact is that as Livingstone said him self, no surplus at TFL. Surplus are used to fund investment projects and always have been. 

    You need only check TFL’s accounts or ask the head of TFL, or Moody’s rating agency, or the London school of economics, or businesses, or channel 4 fact checker, or accountants, or newspapers, or bloggers or commentators. 

    There is not surplus at TFL.

    It is not that political parties are deliverately making peoples lives difficult and to suggest that any of the word shoes you to be out of touch.

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