Member of Parliament for Hackney South and Shoreditch. Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.
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Published on: 7 April 2017
As the Public Accounts Committee made clear in its submission to the review in October last year, the story of the Garden Bridge is a sorry tale about how high profile individuals with the ear of the powerful Mayor of London can gain access to funds with little risk.
At each stage it is taxpayers who have footed the bill.
The London taxpayer has been doubly hit. In addition to central Government putting in £30 million, TfL has also contributed £30 million for a project that seems largely for the benefit of tourists.
All this public money has been pledged without a convincing business case. The timetable has now slipped so there is serious likelihood that if the bridge gets the go-ahead it will clash with work to build the Thames Tideway tunnel.
Wishful thinking and a close relationship with the Mayor are not the basis on which central Government should be spending taxpayers’ money.
Even when officials made their concerns clear the minister overrode them, potentially throwing good money after bad to protect taxpayers’ original investment.
You can read the review in full here.