Garden Bridge Trust & Kids Company: Charity Commission celebrity failures
The Architects' Journal reported today that a government think-tank has criticised the conclusions of the Charity Commission report that exonerated the Garden Bridge Trust (GBT) of any wrongdoing, despite the loss of £43m of public money. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee heard that the government was "beguiled" by the Garden Bridge Trust (and its supporters including Transport for London) in a similar way to the controversial Kids Company charity which also squandered over £40m of public funds.
However the beneficiaries of Kids Company were some very deprived children in South London. The beneficiaries of the Garden Bridge Trust were supposed to be...what? Thomas Heatherwick's glittering career? Boris and assorted senior officers at TfL and Lambeth Council who looked to be getting significant feathers in their caps? And who were the beneficiaries of Boris' beneficence? Who got the £43m of wasted public funds? Bouygues, who got £20m for a cancelled construction contract; Arup, who got £9m for an engineering and design contract; and Heatherwick, who got a significant portion of Arup's fee as a design sub-contractor. TfL clearly believe that if they repeat the same nonsense people will believe it: but, as the AJ has demonstrated, £9m of public funds should not have been doled out to the Garden Bridge Trust since at least two of the six conditions of payment had NOT been met - the GBT didn't have access to the land to build the bridge, or an implementable planning permission, or the funding to complete it, or the money to maintain and operate it. The truth is TfL paid out that money in Feb 16, the fag-end of Boris' tenure as Mayor, to render it far more difficult for Boris' successor to cancel the project - and Sadiq almost fell into the trap by initially announcing that it would be cheaper to complete the project than to cancel it... Luckily he then invited Hodge to investigate and found out otherwise. Why Sadiq hasn't sacked the TfL Commissioner for such incompetence or treachery is anyone's guess. Meanwhile the beneficent bounder Boris stalks the land, untroubled by his cavalier deceit - indeed he fashioned the current political crisis with his cavalier deceit over Brexit, and is currently proposing his candidacy as Premier on a similar cavalier deceit. Can no one rid us of this troublesome fiend?
(Picture: New Statesman)