Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has accused his Labour rival Sadiq Khan of being unable to deliver key infrastructure projects for the capital, on the same day that Khan launches his campaign manifesto.
According to Goldsmith’s campaign, £44.2m in investment has been committed to the Crossrail 2 project so far – just a fraction of City Hall’s latest estimate for the total cost of the project, which stands at £27.5bn.
Goldsmith said today – one week before chancellor George Osborne delivers his next Budget – that he would work “constructively with government” to secure additional Crossrail funding.
“Crossrail 2 is essential, not only to keep London moving, but to keep it growing too,” Goldsmith said. “But it needs money and a strong economy to make it happen, and by working constructively with the government I can make these vital works become a reality. A divisive politician like Sadiq Khan, who has shown no ability, or even willingness to work with this government can only offer unworkable experiments. With a £1.9bn black hole in his spending plans, he can’t deliver on the issues that are so vital.”
Khan, a former transport minister, has vowed not to increase fares before the end of the decade. But TfL has questioned Labour's costing of the fare freeze, saying in internal documents that Labour’s analysis does not take into account the impact Crossrail will have on passenger numbers.
Khan has said stopping fare increases will cost £450m over four years; TfL said the real cost will be £1.9bn.
But a Khan campaign spokesperson rejected Goldsmith’s claims today, saying: “Sadiq is 100 per cent committed to Crossrail 2. As the minister with responsibility for Crossrail 1, who steered the legislation through Parliament that generated a big share of the funding for the scheme, Sadiq knows precisely what it takes to deliver the big transport schemes London needs.”
Khan will launch his manifesto today at Level 39, a tech startup space in Canary Wharf, with a pledge to set up a new London data office. Khan’s campaign said the new office would “help public sector bodies to better design, target and implement their services, while making it easier to save money”.
A new Opinium poll out yesterday put Khan five points ahead of Goldsmith and ten points ahead in a hypothetical run-off.