The Sunday Times reports (£) that the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is threatening to stand down unless The Treasury provides full funding for Crossrail. I would be very surprised if Boris does not stand for a second term as Mayor – he loves the job and is fantastic at it. But there has yet to be a formal announcement and the report that he is using it as a negotiating chip is plausible.
Crossrail is due to be completed by 2017 and the new Government have agreed to go ahead but since it is due to cost £16 billion are looking to see whether there could be some savings. The Sunday Times mentions a figure of 5%, which would be £800 million. It sounds a modest figure to me. But if I was the Chancellor I would be pressing Boris over the general annual subsidy to TfL from central Government of £3 billion a year – there is vast wasteful spending by TfL.
If Boris feels there really isn't quite enough being provided for Crossrail by central Government he might like to stump up the short fall out of TfL's existing budget. Do TfL really need teams of Walking Officers spending their time, rather ironically, sitting around coming up "with integrated planning to increase walking modal share"?
When it comes to "batting for London" with central Government the energy from Boris should go on getting more power rather than more money. Also scrapping red tape such as that imposed by the Home Office on the Metopolitan Police.