Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ken: Get Crossrail Right or It Could Ruin London; (1) Speaking Out: Diane Abbott Gives Her Views (2) Divided Views: Radio Host Nick Ferrari Described London as a City Split by Crime While Ken Livingstone Quoted Figures Saying Crime Levels Were Being Reduced by More Police Officers on the Beat (3) Free Market Fan: FT Editor Lionel Barber

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ken: Get Crossrail Right or It Could Ruin London; (1) Speaking Out: Diane Abbott Gives Her Views (2) Divided Views: Radio Host Nick Ferrari Described London as a City Split by Crime While Ken Livingstone Quoted Figures Saying Crime Levels Were Being Reduced by More Police Officers on the Beat (3) Free Market Fan: FT Editor Lionel Barber

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

LONDON could be bankrupted if the [pounds sterling]16 billion Crossrail project ismishandled, Ken Livingstone has warned.

The Mayor said the long-delayed highspeed link between the City and Heathrowwould help safeguard the capital's status as a financial powerhouse.

But he added this would require the payment of some of the highestpublic-sector salaries in London to keep the project on track for completion in2018.

Mr Livingstone, addressing an Evening Standard debate on how London can stayahead as a great world city, said: "Probably the most important single issuefacing the next mayor is getting that right. If we get it wrong the scale ofthat project is enough to bankrupt London.

"We will bring people in that will be earning more than anybody else in thisroom in order to deliver that project on time and to budget." The Mayor helpsoversee the construction of Crossrail through Transport for London, whichcurrently appoints half the project's directors.

The rail scheme will come under full TfL control once the Bill establishing itgets royal assent. Mr Livingstone was appearing alongside Labour MP DianeAbbott, Financial Times editor Lionel Barber and

LBC radio presenter Nick Ferrari at last night's debate.

The Mayor's proposal to increase the congestion charge to [pounds sterling]25 a day forvehicles with the highest emissions sparked frequent protests from theaudience.

Some speakers were concerned about its poor environmental benefitsa point the Mayor concededand the fact that congestion inside the zone could worsen if drivers switchedto small-engined band B cars, which will be made exempt.

Mr Livingstone said Londoners could again use the mayoral election to showtheir support or opposition to his highest profile policy. He said he and Greencandidate Sian Berry would support the [pounds sterling]25 congestion charge in the 1 May pollwhile

Tory Boris Johnson and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick would proposealternatives. …

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