The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today written to the Chair of the Garden Bridge Trust informing him that the GLA will not be providing Mayoral guarantees for the Garden Bridge project.
In a letter to Lord Mervyn Davies today, the Mayor outlined his view that the continuation of the project will expose the London taxpayer to additional financial risk, both with regard to the bridge’s construction and its operation and maintenance.
Before making the decision, the Mayor analysed the findings of Dame Margaret Hodge’s independent review into the Garden Bridge project, and assessed all the information available about the project to date.
During the Mayoral campaign and since his election last year, the Mayor has repeatedly stated that he would not agree to any more of London taxpayers’ money for which he is responsible being spent on the Garden Bridge project. He had also made clear that he would not provide any Mayoral guarantees unless he was convinced that the project would not lead to additional public expenditure down the line.
In outlining the reasons for the Mayor’s decision not to provide any Mayoral guarantees, today’s letter outlines a number of ways in which the project would expose the London taxpayer to additional financial risk. These include:
- increasing capital costs of the project;
- the risk of the bridge only being partially built; and
- doubts over the establishment of an endowment fund to help meet future maintenance costs.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said “Under the previous Mayor, a considerable amount of London taxpayers’ money has already been spent on the Garden Bridge. I have always been clear that not a penny more of taxpayers’ money should be allocated to the project.
“Having assessed all the information available to me including the findings of Dame Margaret Hodge’s independent review, my view is that providing Mayoral guarantees will expose the London taxpayer to too much additional financial risk.
“With planning permission due to expire this year, many outstanding issues remain, including spiralling construction costs and doubts around funding the maintenance of the bridge.
“The funding gap is now at over £70m and it appears unlikely that the Trust will succeed in raising the private funds required for the project. I am simply not prepared to risk a situation where the taxpayer has to step in and contribute significant additional amounts to ensure the project is completed.”