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Monday, 5 March 2012

Ken's pledges are "fiction"

Channel 4 news' factcheck team have described, Labour Mayoral candidate, Ken Livingstone's pledge to "save the EMA" as "fiction". Mr Livingstone said he would pool the burden of the administration costs into a new ‘EMA agency’. Explaining: “This will be done by bringing together existing funds in colleges, universities, and local authorities, and working with the Association of Colleges, London Higher and councils across London to deliver this.” 

The problem for Mr Livingstone is that the Mayor does not have the power over their budgets and could not compel them to do so. So he'd have to persuade them to cooperate with him. But even if they did agree, the DfE has said that they still wouldn’t be able to divert the money targeting the most vulnerable students who are guaranteed the £1,200 bursary.

This isn't the first promise of Ken's that factcheck have come down on. In January Ken launched his "fare deal" for London. Claiming that “We will carry out this ‘Fare Deal’ without cutting future investment or hitting services, which are funded by a separate budget.” He claims TFL has a surplus of £729m which is simply wrong and the claim that investment is on a separate budget is also incorrect. 

If Ken Livingstone did cut fares then TFL would lose £1.12bn income from fares. That couldn't be plugged without hitting day to day public transport or taking money from investment projects. It is clear once again Ken Livingstone is making promises that simply don't add up or are simply "fiction". It is worth remembering that in his autobiography Ken Livingstone admits breaking his promises in the past on cutting fares.