The Tory candidate for London mayor has billed taxpayers almost £10,000 for tube travel over the past four years, BuzzFeed News can reveal — despite telling a newspaper that he paid his own fares.
Shaun Bailey told the Evening Standard on Wednesday he would raise fares on the London underground if he becomes mayor in order to improve services.
"I want to be upfront. Fares will have to go up a little bit," he said, adding: "If you are sat there now thinking I don’t want my fares to go up, neither do I — I have to pay them as well."
But Bailey has claimed for an annual travelcard as a London Assembly member since 2016, according to records published online.
Assembly members are entitled to a travelcard, up to zone six, as a "taxable benefit" — which means they get reimbursed upfront for the cost of the card but have to declare this to HM Revenue and Customs at the end of the year. They tax, however, is still charged.
In the 2019–20 financial year, Bailey declared a £2,568 travelcard as a taxable benefit, the previous year it was £2,492, in 2017–18 it was £2,408, and in 2016–17 it was £2,364.
Bailey told the Standard he would increase fares in line with the Transport for London (TfL) budget plan if elected in May, adding 3.2% a year to fares. The money raised would fund travel schemes that have been delayed or cancelled under Sadiq Khan’s mayoralty, he said.
Labour MP Bambos Charalambous MP, who represents the north London constituency of Enfield Southgate, told BuzzFeed News: "Shaun has been caught out lying to Londoners — he wants to raise passenger fares while he makes Londoners pay for his.
"In stark contrast, Londoners know Sadiq will stand up for them on affordable transport. He's frozen TfL fares for the past four years and introduced the Unlimited Hopper bus fare."
A spokesperson for Bailey's mayoral campaign said: "Shaun has relied on tubes and buses for over 40 years and is well aware of their cost. It’s time to be honest with Londoners about the crippling lack of investment in our transport infrastructure.
"Unlike the mayor, Shaun does not have access to a taxpayer-funded chauffeur-driven car. If elected, Shaun would abolish this wasteful expense and plough investment into transport services across London."
A source in Khan's office said the mayor did not have a chauffeur but did have police protection and was sometimes driven in a Metropolitan Police car.
This headline has been updated. A previous version of this post mischaracterized a "taxable benefit" as an expense claim.