City Hall will have to wait until the Summer to find out if the EU will help plug the cable car’s funding gap.
When he announced the scheme, Mayor Boris Johnson promised no public funds would be spent in its construction which was then estimated to cost around £25m.
In a statement issued in July 2010, he said: “The aim is to fund the construction of the scheme entirely from private finance and discussions are ongoing with a number of private sector organisations that have expressed interest in the project.”
The Mayor also told Assembly Members that Transport for London “does not have the budget to implement this scheme itself.”
Despite this he later announced that Londoners, via TfL, would provide the scheme’s “upfront funding” which would then be recouped “from a range of sources including the appointed commercial partner, fare revenue and sponsorship.”
In October he announced a ten-year, £36m deal sponsorship deal with Emirates by which time costs had risen to £60m.
At the time TfL said it was seeking an £8m grant from the European Regional Development Fund, which would still leave an £18m shortfall in the scheme’s budget.
In November the Mayor confirmed to Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Mike Tuffrey that the sponsorship money would be received as “payments on an annual basis” which would not be upgraded in line with inflation.
In response to a written question from Tuffrey, the Mayor says the European Commission “is currently considering TfL’s ERDF funding application and it is expected that a decision will be made by summer 2012.”
Commenting on the Mayor’s response, Tuffrey said: “Just 18 months ago Boris Johnson was peddling the claim that the Thames Cable Car would not cost the taxpayer a penny.
“The reality is that public funding has already taken place due to London Development Agency being forced to support the scheme and it is now clear the Mayor hopes taxpayers will contribute again through the European Regional Development Fund.”
“Whatever the merits of the Thames Cable Car the Mayor should have been honest with Londoners from the outset about the real contribution that will fall upon taxpayers.”