Tuesday 10 April 2012
On the day when a ComRes poll showed that trust is at the heart of this mayoral election, Ken Livingstone was questioned by BBC London on whether Londoners could trust him. In his answers he made the following five false claims.
False claim 1: Ken Livingstone claimed that in 1981 he cut fares by 30 per cent (Ken Livingstone, BBC London News, 10 April 2012).
Reality: Ken Livingstone’s flagship 1981 fares cut was reversed within months following a ruling by the Law Lords that it was illegal. When he was leader of the GLC in 1981 Ken Livingstone’s ‘Fares Fare’ policy was ruled illegal by the Law Lords because he paid for it by increasing rates against the law. (BBC News Online, 17 November 1999, link).
False claim 2: £330 million surplus in the TfL accounts (Ken Livingstone, BBC London News, 10 April 2012).
Reality: Ken Livingstone can’t make his mind up about how big this ‘surplus’ is. First he said it was £729 million, then he said it was £206 million, then he said it was £338 million (Ken Livingstone campaign, Fare Deal Factsheet, link; Ken Livingstone campaign, Press Release, 5 December 2011, link; Ken Livingstone campaign, Press Release, 2 February 2012, link). Channel 4 Fact Check found that ‘Mr Livingstone is wrong to claim there’s a £729m surplus that’s sitting in the bank’ and TfL’s Chief Finance Officer told to same blog that there was no operating surplus (Channel 4 Fact Check Blog, 24 January 2012, link).
False claim 3: ‘The independent is a fairly unbiased paper and they concluded that after my eight years as my time as mayor bus fares were 9% down by 9% in real terms and tube fares were up 1.4%’ (Ken Livingstone, BBC London News, 10 April 2012).
Reality: In fact official government figures from the Department for Transport show that bus fares rose by roughly 7 per cent during Ken Livingstone’s Mayoralty (DfT, Local Bus Fares Index by metropolitan area status and country, October 2010, link). It has also been reported that figures in The Independent were merely Ken Livingstone’s own claim as opposed to producing an independent report to verify the claim (Andrew Gilligan, Daily Telegraph, 30 January 2012, link).
False claim 4: Ken Livingstone was challenged on only his fares and childcare policy being costed and he said ‘No, police is costed as well’ (Ken Livingstone, BBC London News, 10 April 2012).
Reality: There is no record of his policing pledge being costed on Ken Livingstone’s own website (Ken Livingstone Website, link).
False claim 5: Ken Livingstone denied that fares increased by 23 per cent under his Mayoralty saying ‘no, no they didn’t’ (Ken Livingstone, BBC London News, 10 April 2012).
Reality: Between 2004 and 2008 there was an average fare increase of 20 per cent (Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time, 3048/2011, 12 October 2011).
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