Peter Hoskin

A vanguard for the Tories’ waste-cutting message

A vanguard for the Tories' waste-cutting message
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What with the snow, it's been a testing couple of days for Transport for London.  But the interview with the organisation's head, Peter Hendy, in today's Standard paints a encouraging picture.  I was particularly struck by this passage:

"It doesn't help either that TfL, which employs 28,000 people, has just announced swingeing job cuts of up to 1,800 staff.

'People have said it's because of the recession but these cuts have nothing to do with the credit crunch,' [Hendy] says. 'In fact, the latest figures show that journeys taken on the Tube and bus are up one per cent and three per cent respectively on the previous year.'

Rather, the 1,000 job losses on London Underground are due to the absorption of the collapsed private Tube maintenance firm Metronet and the elimination of duplicate jobs, he says. 'The rest are because the Mayor axed £3 billion of Ken-era projects' - such as the £500 million Thames Gateway Bridge and the £750 million Docklands Light Railway extension - 'and because, under Boris, we're doing things more efficiently.'

'But let me be clear,' he adds, 'these cuts fall on back-office staff and will have no effect on front-line services or our ability to deliver the Mayor's agenda.'"

Of course, Hendy's hardly going to say that the cuts will impact services, but all this does rather highlight how Boris can be a useful vanguard for the Tories.  If Boris' waste-cutting measures work as intended, then it will help defuse the the 'Tory cuts' attack come election time.