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banner Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Tube bond plan 'more expensive'
Ken Livingstone
The colour purple: Livingstone's new look
A government scheme for improving London's tube network would be 20% cheaper than the plan favoured by independent mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone, according to a report.

The bond scheme backed by Mr Livingstone and Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Susan Kramer would be 2.3m more expensive than the public-private partnership proposed by ministers, according to the report by David Currie of the London Business School.

The report also says there would be less guarantee that the scheme would be efficiently completed under the bond option.

Labour mayoral candidate Frank Dobson described the report as "the book of truth on Livingstone's policy for the Tube".

Campaign colours

But Mr Livingstone said: "We will look at it and go over it, but so far every independent study has come down against PPP and said bonds would be better.

"Opinion polls have all shown that support for the government's partial privatisation is down at about 15%."

Mr Livingstone was speaking as he launched his new campaign colours and logo for the 4 May poll.

Asked about his meetings with Sinn Fein in the 1980s - the subject of criticism from Mr Dobson and a Police Federation chief - Mr Livingstone said: "In the eighties, I called on them to stop bombing London and the GLC called on them to stop bombing London.

"I have always been opposed to killing people.

"We have got to build support for the peace process and that means building support for Gerry Adams and David Trimble and Seamus Mallon and the people who are trying to hold the peace process together."

Mr Livingstone brushed off further criticism from Mr Dobson of his approach to crime and policing, saying: "I have not come attack from anyone who has ever read my policies on policing."

'Striking colour'

The independent candidate accused Labour of "rigging" the electoral rules, which allow him to spend 120,000 on campaign material, while parties fielding candidates for the Greater London Assembly can spend 1.3m.

He said that a 200,000 donation to his campaign from television and radio presenter Chris Evans would pay for his advertising campaign.

Mr Livingstone's campaign literature features a similar shade of purple to that used by Labour in the last general election campaign.

Asked if he was trying to shake off his "Red Ken" nickname in choosing the colour, he said: "Most colours have already gone.

"We chose the colour because red and blue and green had already gone to political parties, as well as that stomach contents colour the Liberal Democrats use, so purple was just about the only striking colour left."

"I never was as red as they said," he added.

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See also:

29 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Police chief attacks Livingstone
27 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Livingstone 'not much help'
18 Jan 00 | UK Politics
'Direct action' row hits Livingstone
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