On 17 September the Greater London Authority’s Oversight Committee will scrutinise how procurement contracts relating to the garden bridge proposed by the Mayor were awarded. The process was won by designer Thomas Heatherwick and has since has become an issue of controversy.
I welcome the action taken by my colleague Meg Hillier MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch in referring the Chancellors pledge of £30m of public money for the garden bridge project.
The chair of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, which oversees all public spending, has asked the National Audit Office to examine the “rationale” behind how the garden bridge received the lump sum and also how the government intends to “maintain oversight” over its £30m funding.
Meg Hillier, in correspondence seen by the Observer dated 3 September 2015, states: “They [the NAO] will report to me any concerns which may arise from their inquiries.”
Osborne pledged £30m of public money for the project and then wrote to the London mayor, asking him to “do the same,” a request Boris Johnson obeyed by also giving a £30m grant.
The garden bridge is facing a mounting backlash with critics saying the £175m project is a misuse of public funds, claiming that rather than providing a public crossing, it risks creating a privately managed tourist landmark.