Friday, 6 February 2009

Boris Johnson, PQT and the cost of rallying a team

The full costs of Boris Johnson's recent Heathrow Tory Rally People's Question Time have been revealed.

The costs, obtained by Will Parbury break down as:

Now I'm not quite sure how spending £1000 on taxis tallies with this statement on the Mayormobile:

"The Mayor has no intention whatsoever of acquiring an official car and has never wanted one. He cycles everywhere he possibly can, and if he cannot he happily uses public transport or very occasionally a taxi."

But there you go. Maybe it really was impossible for the Mayor and his guests to use public transport at 8.30 at night. Who am I to say?

Still, the cost is down from the £30k budgeted for the statutory People's Question Times, which just shows the kinds of savings cutting out proper democratic checks can make.

Meet the Stooges

In other news, we now have some more details about the forthcoming People's Question Times.

The next PQT is a statutory one which means that you can ask questions on whatever topic you like (there's a novelty). That's being held in Bethnal Green and you can register for a ticket here.

After that another 'ad hoc' single-issue meeting is tabled for June. 

This one's on the Olympics, which is jolly good as long as that's the only subject that residents of Waltham Forest want to talk about.

After that the format changes. Perhaps stung by the criticism of the Hilingdon PQT as a 'Tory Propaganda Event' the Mayor's office have decided that the Croydon event will not be single-issue based.

However, rather than follow the proper statutory format with invites being given to Assembly Members, the guests for this event look set to be his Mayoral appointments alone.

According to a reply sent to the Croydon Labour party:

"The format of this meeting will not be the same as the Heathrow meeting in Hillingdon. The Mayor's office have proposed different formats and agendas for the additional four Public Consultation Meeting events (in addition to the statutory 2 People's Question Time meetings). Although the exact agenda is still being worked on, it will be along the lines of Meet the Commissioners (Met Police & TfL) and the Mayoral appointees."

So rather than hold a Tory Party rally, Boris is to hold a Team Boris rally instead. Now how many advisors can you fit in the back of a taxi cab...


The total cost for the event given above is £17,800. However, the total cost given in response to a question by Mike Tuffrey AM earlier this week was £19,000. Now the Mayor's office have given me yet another figure:

"Our budget for this event was £25,000. Figures provided to date reflect invoices received at the time. We currently await receipt of final invoices, however based on orders raised for the event, we anticipate the final figure to be in the region of £20,000."

Any more for any more?


Helen said...

£1 000 on taxis?! That's bloody outrageous. They could've got the bus with me for 90p each. It's not as if there's no public transport round there, ffs. There's the main line to Paddington, the Piccadilly Line from the airport, buses galore.

Chris said...

£1000? I didn't know Brian Coleman was invited ;)

Tom said...

"They could've got the bus with me for 90p each"

£1. Tchah.

To think, Gordon Brown not turning up must have saved a few quid, but what thanks does he get?

Anonymous said...

When do bookings open for the one in Brixton?


AdamB said...

Based on previous events it will probably be 1-2 months before, so I imagine the tickets will be available after the Summer break in September.

tommy said...

I understand your point about the taxis, but the more outrageous figure is £10,000 on Audio/Visual Services. in a modern theatre[ beck theatre], that is ridiculous, it has a PA system and lights [ - beck theatre tech spec/hirer's guide ].... "visual" you could buy a projector for that much money.....shameful.

AdamB said...

Yeah, I don't know exactly what that covers. It could be broadcasting although LBC were in charge of that.

The bigger point is whether we should have to pay any money, let alone £19k, for what was effectively a party political rally.

Chris said...

Somebody should send a bill to Conservative Headquarters for this. Something tells me they wouldn't be quite as quick to hail a cab then.

Helen said...

Silly me, I wondered why the money was disappearing off my Oyster card so fast, I'm in denial about the fare rises.

There did seem to be a lot of extra audio-visual equipment cluttering up the front of the auditorium. The theatre ushers aren't paid for their work - I sat next to one of the part-time ushers, she said they receive free tickets for their services.

I want to know how much the security and policing cost.

Wireman said...

Tommy's point seems worthy of further investigation. Who was paid nearly £10,000 for what?

Tom said...

"£1000? I didn't know Brian Coleman was invited ;)"

Don't be silly. It's only £1000.

AdamB said...

I'm making some inquiries about the audio/visual services.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how much Ken's last PQT cost? Like Helen I'm interested to know what security cost us considering the Gordon Brown "empty seat" stunt.

AdamB said...

Matthew - According to Boris, statutory PQTs (where all assembly members are on stage and questions can be asked on anything) were/are budgeted for £30-35k but these new PQT lights can apparently be put on for less (£20-25k). Boris is also apparently considering holding a PQT 'on the internet' in order to reduce costs/reduce the need to actually deal with questions from the public himself.