Boris Johnson plans to charge companies £5 million to rename Tube stations in new sponsorship scheme

Boris Johnson plans to charge companies £5 million to rename Tube stations in ne

Boris Johnson wants Tube stations to be named after company sponsors, in a bid to raise cash for Transport for London.

The London Mayor has even put a price on any sponsorship deal, saying it would take "more than £5 million" to get him to the negotiating table.

"Marble Arch Tube station used to be called Selfridges," Johnson told today's State of London Debate on LBC.

"It is not a shocking idea, I will look at it."

Theoretically, Baker Street could be re-christened Madame Tussauds, Oxford Street rebadged Top Shop Central and Bank called BloodSuckers-R-Us.

Johnson's new money-raising wheeze looks to be a response to the "potentially catastrophic cuts" planned by central government for London's transport network.

Station sponsorship could contribute about two-thirds of the £1.8 billion annual Tube budget as £1.35 billion if all 270 London Underground stations were renamed by sponsors at £ a pop, but the chances of outlying stations attracting that kind of bid seem slim.

Also, the Mayor's £5 million pledge might be more convincing if he hadn't been so secretive over other similar deals, for example with the Barclays hire bike scheme.

"The lack of openness is fuelling speculation and resulting in an increase in the concerns about TfL's ability to get the best deal for its sponsorship opportunities," said a report into the deal by the London Assembly.

"We only know what TfL or Barclays will tell us. This is not acceptable for public accountability."

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