Zac Goldsmith: Garden Bridge worth the money as thousands will get engaged there every year

Romantic mayoral candidate explains why he supports the Garden Bridge

Tory mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has explained why he is throwing his support behind the controversial multi-million pound Garden Bridge planned to span the Thames between Temple and the South Bank.

Goldsmith believes “thousands of people will get engaged on [the] bridge every year”.

Speaking to LBC, Goldmsith said: “I think in the years to come it will be a really celebrated part of the London landscape, I just don’t believe that once this bridge is built people will look upon it with regret. I think they’ll be pleased that this new green space exists. And I’m pretty sure that thousands of people will get engaged on this bridge every year. I think it’s going to be an important part of London.”

Only £10m?

Goldsmith also swept aside the bridge’s gargantuan cost to taxpayers – £60m (of which £20m will be a long-term loan) saying that the £30m coming from the Department for Transport (DfT) is “the government waiving VAT”.

Speaking to LBC’s interviewer Nick Ferrari, Goldsmith said: “You mentioned £60m of public money, the project will cost around £160-170m beginning to end. The vast majority of that is privately raised, it’s not public money, and the public contribution is actually around £10m. £30m of the money is the government waiving VAT, it’s not going to cost the public any money. Of the remaining £30m coming from TfL, £20m is a loan, so in terms of actual public money we’re talking about £10m and I would say that the garden bridge, this new green space, that will be very beautiful and something people will absolutely love… £10m is good value for money.”

This sounds like a neat trick. Perhaps the DfT can raise a few more millions in this way to actually improve London infrastructure rather than spending the miraculous free money on a romantic destination.

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