Ken Livingstone has called it “bizarre” that successor Boris Johnson was unaware of the existence of the memorandum of understanding agreed by him and the Government over the costs for the Olympic games.
The agreement ensures that Londoners will not be forced to pay any cost overruns for the games and caps the contribution made by Council Tax payers.
Asked about the document on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Mayor Johnson said “I rather doubt that it exists” prompting officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to point out the document can be found on its website.
A revised Memorandum dated June 2007 states:
“a) The Mayor will provide a maximum of £625 million from the Olympic
precept, as provided for in the original Memorandum of Understanding.
amount to be raised through the council tax precept for the 2012 Games
will be no more that £20 a year for a Band D council tax household and
will be spread over the period 2006-07 to 2016-17.”
Although there is a provision for the Mayor to provide an additional £300m the agreement makes clear that “it will not be found from either an increase in the Council Tax precept or an increase in Fares.”
Interviewed on the programme Livingstone said “I think the idea that he has been mayor and he has not yet bothered to find the memorandum of understanding and brief himself on it before he goes on your programme is bizarre.”
Johnson has frequently appeared under briefed, at his first Mayor’s Question Time he denied delegating his planning powers before being shown a letter claiming he had an in a recent interview with Andrew Marr he denied City Hall’s own stated claims for the costs of his transition team.
Responding to a question from Marr Johnson said “don’t think we’ve spent half a million so far. I think that may be the total of their annual salaries, something like that” however a report to the London Assembly business management and administration committee put the costs of the team at £425,000 and the Evening Standard reported that “When the Mayor’s office was presented with this figure, they revised it upwards to £465,000, but insisted that was actually quite reasonable for consultancy fees.”