Barking MP tells Sadiq Khan to scrap Garden Bridge and end risk to taxpayer
PUBLISHED: 16:11 07 April 2017
A strain on the public purse that risks unjustifiable investment – that’s Dame Margaret Hodge MP’s verdict on the Garden Bridge.
Today the Barking MP published her review into the Garden Bridge across the Thames, criticising its gap in capital funding, which is more than £70million.
Cost estimates for the bridge have risen from £60million to more than £200m in what Dame Margaret said was a risk to the taxpayer that had “intensified” as she advised mayor of London Sadiq Khan to scrap the scheme.
“Value for money for the taxpayer has not been secured. It would be better for the taxpayer to accept the financial loss of cancelling the project than to risk the potential uncertain additional costs to the public purse if the project proceeds,” she said. “In the present climate, with continuing pressures on public spending, it is difficult to justify further public investment in the Garden Bridge.
“I would urge the mayor not to sign any guarantees until it is confirmed that the private capital and revenue monies have been secured by the Garden Bridge Trust.”
She said “too many things went wrong in the development and implementation” of the project, citing its loss of two major private donors and the fact it hasn’t secured any new pledges since August last year.
Describing the Garden Bridge Trust’s finances as in a “precarious state” and wary of “unresolved” and “outsanding risks”, she said the project should be cancelled before it drains any more money.