Evidence has been submitted to the mayor of London’s Garden Bridge project review by the Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) due to its concern over the use of taxpayers’ money.
The review – conducted by former PAC chair Dame Margaret Hodge MP – will examine the value for money of public investment for the project. £60M of public funds has been pledged for the £185M project.
Concerns over the use of taxpayers’ money prompted the PAC to collect evidence and question civil servants involved in the decision-making process.
The submission includes a timeline of the PAC’s involvement with the project and transcripts of evidence given by civil servants, as well as communication over a ministerial direction to increase the Department for Transport’s pre-construction commitment to the project.
“The story of the Garden Bridge is a sorry tale about how high profile individuals with the ear of the powerful mayor of London can gain access to funds with little risk,” said PAC chair Meg Hillier.
“At each stage it is taxpayers who have footed the bill. The London taxpayer has been doubly hit. In addition to central government putting in £30M, TfL [Transport for London] has also contributed £30M for a project that seems largely for the benefit of tourists.
“With an already stretched budget, TfL can ill afford this and there are still important questions about who would pay the ongoing maintenance of the bridge which the mayor’s review needs to get to the bottom of.”