Khan pulls public money from London’s Garden Bridge

28 Apr 17

The controversial £200m Garden Bridge project will not receive financial backing from the taxpayer, London mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed.

Today the mayor said going ahead with the project would “expose the London taxpayer to too much additional financial risk” both with regard to the bridge’s construction and its operation and maintenance.

The decision followed a report by Dame Margaret Hodge earlier this month, which urged planners to stop the scheme because “value for money for the taxpayer has not been secured”.

Hodge, a former chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said it would be better for the taxpayer to accept the financial loss of cancelling the project rather than risk going ahead.

Khan said: “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.”

The Garden Bridge project, started by former mayor Boris Johnson, had an initial budget of £60m but this quickly rose to an estimated cost of £200m.

Johnson and the then chancellor George Osborne committed £60m of public money to the scheme, with the rest intended to be raised from corporate donations.

The trust behind the plans failed to secure enough private funding, managing only £69m in private assistance, leaving a shortfall of around £70m.

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