Ken’s Con

Posted on January 1, 2012

Evening Standard polling on the London Mayoral Race shows clearly that transport fares, and the management of the underground service, is the only major chink in Boris’s armour. It’s a topic which is high on Londoners’ list of concerns and it’s the only area where Ken appears to have a distinct opportunity.

As a result, Ken Livingstone is hammering the issue, promising a 7% cut in fares. But can he be trusted to stick to this pledge for a so-called “fare deal”, or is it pie in the sky?

Judging by his track record, it’s the latter. In fact, he’s broken promises on fares at both of the last two Mayoral elections.

In September 2003, with an election coming up, Ken promised to peg fare rises to “no more than the rate of inflation”. But in September 2004, he announced tube fares would rise at inflation +1% and bus fares would jump by inflation +10%.

In December 2007, with another election approaching, he told the London Assembly “I intend to freeze Tube fares in real terms in 2009″. He lost the election, but by April 2008 leaked emails emerged showing that when he gave that pledge to the Assembly he had already signed off on higher than inflation rises for bus and tube passengers.

It’s understandable why Ken – lagging by 8 points in the polls behind Boris – is making increasingly desperate pledges to persuade voters. The question has always been how he will fund them. Looking at his past behaviour gives us the answer – he won’t have any trouble funding his 7% cut, because he makes a habit of  breaking his promises as soon as the election is out of the way.



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Categories: Local Government, Opinion, Politics, Public spending

One Response

  1. Mayoral Election: The Case Against…Ken Livingstone | Londonist:

    […] rise in fares on London travel.But Ken’s past form, helpfully surveyed by the Crash Bang Wallace blog, raises questions about how credible that promise is. In September 2003, with an election coming […]

    29.02.2012 12:30 Reply

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