The Treasury’s permanent secretary said he was “unaware” of plans for further loans or guarantees by the government for the Garden Bridge project.
Giving evidence at a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting, Tom Scholar answered questions on the Garden Bridge project’s finances, stressing he knew of no government plans to issue further loans and guarantees or to extend the underwriting of the trustees’ liabilities.
When questioned on the validity of the original business case, he stressed that the Department for Transport (DfT) took the lead, adding: “The Treasury was sufficiently satisfied that it agreed to allocate the money to the Department [for Transport].”
Scholar also defended the DfT’s role in administering the grant funding and guarantees for the traffic-free bridge.
“Since it was a bridge, I think the decision was taken that its primary purpose was transport related,” he said.
The PAC meeting follows the publication of a National Audit Office (NAO) report last week, which found that the project – which has been allocated £60M of public funding – was at risk of offering poor value for money.
“We at the government will be studying very carefully the NAO report and responding in due course,” he said.