At today’s (Wednesday 16th Sept 15) Mayor’s Question Time, Andrew Dismore, Labour London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden challenged London Mayor Boris Johnson to come clean over his deal with West Ham over the deal to allow them to use the Olympic Stadium.
Speaking at the meeting Mr Dismore asked the Mayor to confirm the following points:
“You fought to keep this secret, didn’t you, because West Ham have taken you to the cleaners and you wanted to cover it up
“It’s true isn’t it, that West Ham paid only £15milion of £272million conversion costs, just 5.5% and just £2 to 2.5 million in rent, yet it’s also true isn’t it, that they don’t have to pay for security, for policing, for stewarding and turnstile staff, for ground maintenance, they don’t even have to pay for the goalposts and corner flags, facilities worth more than their rent, and they even get to keep all the ticket sales, worth at least £18 million just for VIP seats and boxes alone, don’t they?
“The fact is this deal is anti-competitive giving an unfair advantage to West Ham as against other football clubs and is also likely to breach EU state aid rules. Manchester City pays all the overheads plus £4m a year for former Commonwealth Games stadium. Chelsea and Tottenham will pay £11m to £15m if they use Wembley while their grounds are redeveloped. In Europe, Ajax, pays 9m euros to Amsterdam Council. The EU already have started state aid investigations into 7 Spanish and 5 Dutch football clubs: your deal with West Ham will be next, won’t it?
“If this is all wrong, then why don’t you comply immediately with the Information Commissioner’s ruling against you and publish the deal, and join with the 14 supporters’ groups across the country and the 8 in London who are campaigning for this?”
Commenting after the meeting Mr Dismore said:
“There has been growing disquiet over the Mayor’s sweetheart deal with West Ham, and the secrecy surrounding it. I welcome the decision of the Information Commissioner to order the Mayor to publish details of the agreement and I urge the Mayor to comply immediately.
“As usual the Mayor obfuscated, dodged and dived. He said he was in favour of transparency, but then refused to confirm the facts I put to him, refused to say he would comply with the Information Commissioner’s ruling, and refused to say that he would resist any legal challenges from West Ham.
“However, he will have to come clean eventually and the sooner we get to the bottom of this sorry affair the better.”