Friday, September 07, 2007

Judging Ken By What He Does, Not What He Says

If you are even considering voting for Ken Livingstone next year, take a read of THIS report by the Bow Group on Ken Livingstone's record.
The strange thing about Mr Livingstone’s time in office is how little attention has been given to his track record. The press tends to be full of stories on how the Mayor will do this or do that. Perhaps this is not surprising, given the 173 press officers who work for him in one form or another. Yet put under close scrutiny his track record looks extremely patchy indeed. There have been some undoubted improvements: more police and more buses are some. Yet compared with the resources having been made available these achievements look paltry in comparison. And other areas have in fact got worse. The tube is more delayed; buses move slower and the congestion charge has failed. Adding these together as whole Livingstone has failed to deliver.
And this failure is costing Londoner’s dear. Not only has the precept gone up so quickly to a staggering £303 a year, but the Mayor has also squandered the huge increase in government grants over the same time. Grants that cost the average London household over £2,000 in tax. London will never be perfection. It is a huge and growing city. And in any city there will always be problems. But London does deserve better. Better than a story of waste, spin, and mismanagement. For the office of London’s Mayor – it is time for change.

Download the whole PDF HERE. Watch the BBC Report HERE.

31 comments:

Jack said...

I've just googled The Bow Group - it's a Conversative Think Tank.

Ok.

Hughes Views said...

Ah but it's not what you've done or not done that counts it's all about presentation and style, or so Mr Cameron seems to think...

Chris Paul said...

Grants that cost the average London Tax Payer over £2,000 per year? Perhaps someone could explain how that works?

Has Ken and his crew earned 7 million people x 2,000 = £14 Bn in government grants?

And assuming there is no secret hypothecation of taxes in London and that there are taxes from national and international companies too isn't this "statistic" just 100% pure Yory toss?

Chris Paul said...

PS Sorry I think the £2000 point came out a little mangled. But the report says this:

... the GLA now receiving tax payer grants worth £2,000 per household

So according to the report London households RECEIVE THE BENEFIT OF an average of £2,000 in government grant per annum. They do not PAY it.

How do we get from RECEIVE to COST? Isn't this a little bit adventurous even by Tory twisting standards?

ian said...

And why is the tube in a worse state? The Toryesque PPP privatisation, that's why.

David Boothroyd said...

The vast majority of the GLA precept goes to the Metropolitan Police. If a potential Mayor wants to reduce the Mayor's precept there is practically no way to have any impact on it other than cutting spending on the police. Consider that when next you hear someone complaining that the Mayor has excessively increased the precept.

Anonymous said...

He put the congestion charge in despite huge opposition, a great number of technical hurdles, and lack of support from 'vested interests'.

That is an achievement, and nobody else could, or would, have done it.

So cut the crap about a distinct lack of achievement - this is just biased claptrap !

Anonymous said...

Ah yes! but did Ken drag his mistress to an abortion clinic, then deny it, and then get the sack from his party leader, when it turned out to be true?

Anonymous said...

In relation to the Police the expenditure related to this is hugely supported by Londoners. This Bow Group report seems to be suggesting we should have more officers for the money we pay. That can only be achieved by reducing officer pay.

In relation to crime we have seen a continuing decline in a range of crimes despite Tories trying convince Londoners that the City is the grip of some sort of anarchistic crime wave.

London is a great City and the police are doing a difficult job and should be supported.Kens investment in policing is paying off. I dare say Londoners would probably vote for more officers even if we had to pay more council tax to have them.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see Ken's team working late on a Friday......

Sceptical Steve said...

Anonymous 11.44

The reason why the press officers are having to work shifts is that there's not enough office space to accommodate all 174 of them during normal office hours.

Chris Paul said...

1. Sorry to see that you have not updated this post Iain. I explained here how what you have printed is utterly wrong.

2. That applies whether it was your own editorialising, which it did look like despite the indent, or something lifted off p 27 of the Tory "think tank" Bow Group report.

3. Did you help them write the thing?

4. On pages 3 (Exec Report) and 5 (Within "What does the Mayor Do?) and 7 (The GLA precept) it explains clearly that this £2,000 or almost £6 Bn is what London RAISES from grants, not the tax BURDEN per household.

5. The grant figure is clearly from national taxes on businesses and personal direct and indirect taxation and not some roof tax on Londoners.

6. The Police Point re the precepts is well made.

7. Whether you wrote it yourself or or not the bit of the tory Bow Group report you quote is utter tosh Iain. You should update your post accordingly - or remove it as beneath the standard of work Iain Dale's Diary likes to re-publish.

James Ramsay said...

Ken consistently escapes criticism for being a genuinely crap manager of London, he needs to be called account and this report is the first to do it...

Alastair said...

And chris paul might like to note that the report doesn't refer to 7 million Londoners paying £2000/year, it refers to households, of which there are just 2.9m.

aardvark said...

Iain, you may also care to read the Mayor's response which corrects some of the howling errors in the Bow Group report.

http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=13615

Chris Paul said...

Er, thaks Alastair. I immediately noted that the £2,000 bit in my first comment was mangled
and got the household count guessed right within minutes here. To be frank I am amazed that Iain will not update this post. Whoever wrote the words they are wrong, he knows them to be wrong and repeating things you know to be wrong is lying actually.

It DOES NOT cost London households £2,000 per year in grants. They GET £2,000 a year oin grants spent on them. It could hardly be more wrong than that. Iain is refusing to acknowledge the error. I think that is very sad.

The £2,000 tax claim is gobbledy gook. End of.

PS Are links to links not working Iain?

Iain Dale said...

Chris, for goodness sake. If a household has £2000 spent on them it stands to reason that the taxes have been raised from them.

There is no reason to correct the orginal post and you are becoming very tiresome. YOU got it wrong, not me, so please go and find something else to do. You are becoming very tiresome. Again.

Alastair said...

Sad that you choose to blindly believe Ken's press release. Oh how gullible! This release comes from a huge press office where spin and lies is the norm, and, believe me, where figures are routinely obscured and twisted to present Livingstone's view.

aardvark said...

Alastair said...
Sad that you choose to blindly believe Ken's press release. Oh how gullible! This release comes from a huge press office where spin and lies is the norm, and, believe me, where figures are routinely obscured and twisted to present Livingstone's view.


I went to the Mayor's press release because there were several figures and statements in the Bow Group report that I know are wrong.

I don't necessarily accept everything emanating from TfL but am no less gullible than Iain is in accepting the Bow Group report fully.

The best source for an unbiased view of the performance of the GLA and TfL is the Audit Commission which has carried out several detailed assessments and is generally satisfied.

I support Boris Johnson for Mayor rather than Ken Livingstone but I don't think his campaign (when it gets going) will be helped if he uses the false information in the Bow Group report.

Anonymous said...

"seems to be suggesting we should have more officers for the money we pay. That can only be achieved by reducing officer pay."

Police get £33,000. The national median is £18,000. The police are not worth more than £26,000.

"In relation to crime we have seen a continuing decline in a range of crimes despite Tories trying convince Londoners that the City is the grip of some sort of anarchistic crime wave."

Particularly if you believe anything the police say.

ho ho ho

Anonymous said...

actually that 2 grand per household claim... if it is spent on Londoners you can bet your botton dollar that it is raised from londoners...London exports its tax to other regions. So what is spent in london is, net for net, rasied there.

Anonymous said...

also that two grand per household claims smells about right.

GLA spends 10bn
Fares raise 2bn
GLA precept is 0.5 bn

which leaves the rest (7m) to be made up from taxpayers in some form.

so across 3m households 2 grand looks reasonable

Iain Dale said...

Livingstone's 173 man pressperation weren;t available to to talk to the BBC about the Bow Group Report, yet they put out a press release attempting to rebut it. The Bow Group has now rebuttted the rebuttal. Following me so far? Here it is.





Response to Mayor's criticisms of Bow Group report

For immediate release

Contact Alastair Sloan: 07920 401 056



In reponse to the Mayor's press release (number 7-9-2007 546) the Bow Group would like to correct some of their attempted rebuttals.

Quotes from Mayor's press release in Bold:

"In particular, it is entirely untrue that Londoners are using the Tube less. In fact, London Underground is now running more trains and carrying more passengers than ever before."
We agree that the tube is carrying a record number of passengers. In fact we say as much in our report (page 11). We merely point out the tube usage has grown slower than the population of London. Hence as individuals we are using the tube less. Given the tube network has expanded into areas previously unserved by the tube (e.g. the Jubillee line extension) this represents a sigficicant change in behaviour.
'Reliability on the Tube is also improved, with both track and signal failures reduced"
The most recent TfL annual report (2006 / 07) shows delays at an all time high of 8.1 minutes. Furthermore track and signal failures have actually grown over the period since the Mayor came to power as reported to both the Health and Saftey Executive and the Common's Transport Select Committee. See pages 11/12 of our report.
"Bus usage in London has increased by 40 per cent since 1999/00"
We show similar figures to this on page 13. But we point out that the size of the network (which drives costs) is up only 15% while the subsidy is up 71%
"Congestion charging has cut traffic by 21 per cent from before charging began".
Based on TfL's own data we show that the traffic that has been detered from entry into the charge zone is afternoon traffic, while morning rush hour traffic is largely unchanged. Furthermore the decrease in traffic should been seen as a longer term trend. Department of Transport figures shows traffic volumes have been in decline since 1998, five years before the C-Charge was introduced. In fact this downward trend actually slowed following the C-Charge's introduction. See pages 16 - 19 for more detail.
We also examine the claims on the profitability of the C-Charge (repeated once again in the press release) and find that these numbers ingore the one off investment cost of the scheme and the full extent of the overhead. Taking these into account, using TfL supplied figures, the scheme has had total takings since inception of £930m and profit of only £10m.
"Police numbers are actually up by 38 per cent since 2000 and the budget has increased by the same percentage - 38 per cent."
Police officers (not staff) are up 20%. Meanwhile the Mayor's own budget's show that gross expenditure by the Met up 81% since 2000. This gross figure is the important one - it includes both the Home Office grants and funding from the GLA precept. See pages 22 / 23.
"There has been a 15 per cent decrease in recorded crime in London since 2002/3."
While we show the chart that incorporates the recent dip, we quote figures from the start of Livingstone's first term until now. Thus violent crime is up 17%.


Ends.

Chris Paul said...

Listen Iain : the £2,000 per household grants spent figure spelt out on page 3 5 and 7 is OK; but the £2,000 "cost" of those grants to London households stated in gobbledy gook discussion on p 27 is WRONG.

You have repeated/republished the latter. You are wrong. Even though it was a quote. The fact the prose was similar to your own and appeared to contradict the report was a distraction. I was wrong. I admitted that and corrected my post.

Now it is your turn.

The pattern: (1) Iain Dale almost never apologises and rarely corrects (2) when someone else does apologise or correct Iain Dale doesn't have the good grace to accept and move on.

The report is bilge. You present the worst mistake in it as some great triumph.

Yes, that is tiresome.

Mr Sloan's rebuttal sadly does not deal with your confusion. This is the first pamphlet the pair of them have written, and it is shoddy spin.

It has been the devil's own job tracking down who they actually are as they are amateurs.

Facts not fiction please said...

London does not export tax to the rest of the country. That is another big bad lie.

Iain Dale said...

No Chris, if I get things wrong I apologise. There are plenty of examples of that in the past.

I did not present this case as "a great triumph". Pleae do enlighten me how this sentence can be descrobed as that...

"If you are even considering voting for Ken Livingstone next year, take a read of THIS report by the Bow Group on Ken Livingstone's record."

That is the only sentence in the whole post which is mine.

You clearly did not read the Bow Group rebuttal to Livingstone above your last comment.

The end.

ian said...

Police get £33,000. The national median is £18,000. The police are not worth more than £26,000.

Even if the latter part of that statement wasn't utter crap, the use of the national median is illuminating. Ever heard of london weighting?

James Ramsay said...

from what i can see reading through the report, allegations of "shoddy spin" are pretty unfounded. a lot of the figures seem to come from tfl, gla or the mayors office etc. Ken appears to be shooting himself in the foot here.

Fiddlesticks said...

a bad case of tunnel vision i think with mr paul, he seems to be focussing much more on a small claim in the report, which in any case has been shown to be true, and ignoring the fact that the report represents the first overwhelming body of evidence that Ken has FAILED! the guy's a liability, maybe not boris, but definitely not ken

Anonymous said...

aardvark, what claims are you talking about?

Fiddlesticks said...

Also kids, just found this man's blog here - he's been relentlessly dragging the truth out of ken for ages now and knows what's what. http://philtaylor.org.uk/

He rightly points out that ken is worryingly happy to squander tax payers cash on retaliatory press releases responding to what are essentially political attacks on his person.