Caroline Pidgeon talks Heathrow, housing, transport and Boris’s mismanagement of industrial relations

Caroline Pidgeon has given a wide ranging interview to the Richmond and Twickenham Guardian.

As 3 new tube strikes loom, she was deeply critical of Boris Johnson:

We are in a very, very bad position in terms of our industrial relations because Boris Johnson has never properly and formally sat down with the unions.

I think he might have passed them in a corridor or something but never formally sat down.

Boris Johnson and TFL messed this up from the start with their deadline. Immediately then the unions could hold him over a barrel and start making more and more demands.”

They did quite rightly raise concerns about working late shifts but occasionally it has seemed some are just spoiling for a fight.

What we need to do is to start off with having a good relationship with the unions and there has been a failure right from 2008 from Boris Johnson to establish that relationship.

“The others want to be something, I want to do something”

On what she brings to the race, she says:

People don’t know the candidates tremendously well this time round, and there has been a great response to the fact that I am a woman.

I am the most experienced of the three candidates, having served on the London assembly and worked on London’s issues for so long.

On Heathrow she emphasised the Lib Dems’ unique position:

The Lib Dems are the only party that is completely united against a third runway and Heathrow expansion.

We continue to strongly believe that and oppose any airport expansion in London and the South East. We don’t agree with expansion at Gatwick either.

She set out her plan to build thousands of new homes for Londoners:

Each household currently pays £20 a year towards the Olympic games, which is 38p a week, and raises £50-60million a year.

We could borrow against that to raise £1.5-2bn to build council housing, and I mean council housing specifically because we need genuinely affordable homes. Public sector land could be used to help build a further 150,000 homes for private rent and private sale.

Finally, she talked about her half price fairs for early commuters idea which seems to have got a huge amount of coverage and is encouraging Lib Dems to spend lots of early morning at stations handing out leaflets:

Ms Pidgeon said Londoners on a lower income who need to travel very early in the morning should be helped, and half price tube travel before 7.30am could be paid for by removing funding for the Garden Bridge project, as well as some perks enjoyed by Tfl employees.

She said: “Scrapping the Garden Bridge would raise £10million in the first year.

“I completely believe Tfl employees should have free travel, but there is a perk in which they can nominate anyone in their household, even a lodger, to have free travel as well. This is too much.”

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  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jan '16 - 6:04pm

    I wouldn’t support what looks like mass building of council houses without a proper plan for policing and crime reduction. Housing estates have too often become run-down looking areas with gangs hanging around them. It’s not just prejudice either, there are streets when I was growing up I’d sometimes be scared to walk down and they were always the ex-council ones.

    Caroline comes across as a compassionate individual, but we need to turn that into electoral gold. I’ll try and help out on Twitter a bit, just providing my thoughts.

  • Peter Davies 16th Jan '16 - 9:11pm

    She’s talking about 150,000 homes for private rent and private sale on public land. If that’s the same public land as the council houses then it shouldn’t produce the sort of estate you’re worried about.

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