Transport for London is very keen to portray tonight’s news that Barclays is ending its association with the Cycle Hire scheme as the simple long-expected expiry of a deal.
In a statement issued to various outlets including MayorWatch, they say:
“Barclays has not pulled out of the Cycle Hire sponsorship deal. After the current sponsorship deal with Barclays ends in two years time – the cycle sponsorship portfolio will fundamentally change”
But this is very much at odds with City Hall and TfL’s own past statements.
“the Mayor has confirmed that Barclays has agreed to provide another £25 million of sponsorship. The extra funding will help the scheme to expand throughout west and south-west London by the summer of 2013, and also sees Barclays sponsorship extended by three years to 2018. The additional £25m takes Barclays total investment in the scheme to £50m.”
and in case that was too complex for we journos to understand, the notes to editors summed up the key point as follows:
“Barclays have agreed to invest a further £25m to extend its sponsorship to 2018, including the Phase 3 western expansion from 2013”
Here are some more very clear and certain statements about the contract’s worth and length, courtesy of the Mayor’s answers to questions from London Assembly Members:
Yet tonight TfL are spinning away that Barclays were only ever committed until 2015.
When pushed on this TfL’s press office told me that:
“negotiations were underway to extend to 2018 – as per the press release you refer to”
“the decision was made mutually”
not to extend the contract after all.
But if there were only ever “negotiations” to extend the poor-value deal why issue a press release four years before the contract end date announcing in very clear terms that “Barclays have agreed to invest a further £25m to extend its sponsorship to 2018”?
I’m promised some help in reconciling the apparent discrepancy between the various sets of statements tomorrow.