Monday, January 19, 2009

Capital Budgets


This afternoon the budget committee took evidence from the the MPA, LDA, TfL and LFEPA on their capital budgets. They tell us that the financial crisis is forcing them to tighten their purse strings. TfL are considering the possibility of declining income as passenger numbers fall, although as yet there is no sign of this happening.

On the positive side, falling construction costs and property prices mean that we can do more with less money - but there is one snag.

Remember the previous Mayor, you know, the one who told us that we would pay off the Olympic costs by selling all the property at a huge profit? Doesn't look so good now... The LDA are going to revise their spreadsheet to reflect falling values.

And there was bad news for TfL too. When Bob Kiley arrived, they bought a house in Belgravia for him to stay in. Ken claimed that when they sold the property, the profit would more than cover Mr Kiley's salary. Today TfL admitted that years after Bob's return to The States they still own the house. It is currently being rented out as the market is deemed unsuitable to sell it at present...


Ken has gone but the costs linger on.

7 comments:

Rog T said...

Roger,

I was rather interested in the comments regarding Bob Kiley's house. A few questions spring to mind. Firstly why wasn't it sold when he left? Secondly, if that was down to Ken's largess, why wasn't it sold by Boris when he got in? Third, it was bought years ago so surely the rents have gone up & interest rates down, so surely the rent should be covering any mortgage (or beating the rate of interest that you'd get for an equivalent sum of money).

Lastly given the capital appreciation of the property from the date it was bought, surely TFL have done rather well out of it.

Just out of interest, who is living there? I do hope it hasn't been given to another crony at no, or a peppercorn rent.

I'd forgotten about Bob Kiley. It is quite interesting to recall how his appointment was greeted at the time as a masterstroke by everyone (left and right). It's strange how these things seem to work out.

Roger Evans said...

A lot of questions there! TfL seemed reluctant to discuss the specifics so we may never know...

I suppose if we hang onto the house long enough it will come back up. That's what I'm hoping for from my 'apartment' anyway.

When Bob was due to arrive in London I came across some New Yorkers in a hotel in town. When I told them, they said "He's made a better job of your railway than he did of ours!", which was slightly worrying as he wasn't due to start in London for another month...

Rog T said...

Roger,

Surely an FOI request would answer many of the questions. Given the state of the property market, I'd agree that it's best to wait. My concern is that the property is being rented at a less than market rate to a TFL crony. I'm sure that both of us wouldn't want to see that happen.

I felt a bit sorry for Bob Kiley. He was stuck in the middle of a war between Ken & Gordon Brown at the treasury. No wonder he hit the bottle

morris hickey said...

"TfL seemed reluctant to discuss......"

So what next then? FOI request or a P45? TfL are an incompetent mob in need of wholesale reform.

Rog T said...

Roger, a quick question about TFL and the workings of the London Assembly, if you don't mind. I was looking at one of the assembly publications on it's website :-

http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/transport/cross-river-tram.pdf

In appendix C, there is a list of attendees. I noticed that not a single assembly member is listed as attending. I have been told that some attended (not the committee members listed at the beginning). Is there a convention that they are not listed on these reports? If so is there a reason for this. Just curious. Some of the ways of TFL puzzle me.

Roger Evans said...

Rog T, the report you refer to is actually an assembly publication so TfL's only involvement was in giving evidence. They are not responsible for the report.

The appendix lists representatives of outside organisations who gave up their time to attend and contribute.

Members of the committee are listed as such elsewhere in the report, however this is not the full story because some of the usual committee members were substituted for at the meeting by other members.

One of these was Brian Coleman who made his presence felt by objecting to the tram proposal, to the extent that his efforts were - I believe - reported by some of the pro tram bloggers, after the meeting. I was also present and I raised an objection on the grounds of cost. I can think of many better ways to spend £1.3 billion...

morris hickey said...

Brian Coleman objected? Does he know what public transport looks like other than black cabs?