Saturday, March 17, 2007

Junket Ken's wings clipped?

International travel is one of the things that should appear as an interest on Ken Livingstone's CV. The costs of Livingstone's overseas trips, at the expense of London taxpayers, have increased nearly ten-fold in just three years. The cost of foreign travel by the Mayor’s Office was £36,490 in 2004-05. This rose to £103,130 in 2005-06. However for the year up to December 2006 it had soared (like a Livingstone in Club Class) to £229,942.

Such is the concern about Livingstone's new found love of popping abroad and the huge additonal cost that comes with it, the London Assembly has supported a motion that states:

This Assembly believes that all international trips and visits by officers of the Mayor’s office must reflect value for money and clearly be in the interests of London, the London economy, the London environment, and Londoners.

All such international trips must have clearly defined objectives by which the success of these trips can be measured.

As Assembly Member Richard Barnes made clear: 'It is not acceptable to make trips at a significant cost to Londoners which do not seem to have a clear purpose, then attempt to justify them afterwards.' Such as those to Cuba to pay homage to Fidel Castro, when the destination was Venezuela, for example.

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