The taxpayer could lose up to £20m if the Garden Bridge project across the Thames gets cancelled, according to the official stats.
The National Audit Office (NAO) claims that The Garden Bridge Trust, which is behind Joanna Lumley-inspired project, displayed a pattern of seeking more and more additional cash from the government when it needed it – and which the taxpayer now could lose.
The scheme has been delayed repeatedly, and Mayor Sadiq Khan has now launched an inquiry – run by MP Margaret Hodge – into the project’s progress.
Now high-profile figures are warming that the project is in peril.
“It worries me that whenever the Garden Bridge Trust runs into financial trouble, the Department for Transport releases more taxpayers’ money before construction has even started,” London MP Meg Hillier told The Guardian.
“If the project collapses, taxpayers stand to lose £22.5m.”
But the Garden Bridge Trust said it hadn’t asked for more money.
“The trust has not [asked] and is not asking for additional funding,” it told the paper. “We are grateful for the support of the government and the mayor of London as we embark on raising the final private funding.”
The proposed bridge, if built, would sit in between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges.
(Pic: Garden Bridge Trust)