When Boris Johnson appears before the London Assembly later this morning he’ll be be able to share news of a long hoped for Christmas present from Coalition Ministers – a £23m “incentive” for not increasing his share of London’s Council Tax bill.
The Mayor, appearing before Assembly Members for the final Mayor’s Question Time of 2010, will be keen to present the funding as a reward for “prudent financial management” by his administration.
AMs will hear that the total Greater London Authority Precept for 2011/12 will be £309.82 a year for a Band D household.
Since his election in 2008, Mayor Johnson has frozen the GLA’s precept, cut the number of jobs at City Hall and embarked on a cost cutting drive which officials say has delivered over £2 billion efficiency savings.
Writing for this site in July, Mayoral advisor Nicholas Griffin set out how the administration was working to make savings by sharing services and procurement across the GLA group.
Ahead of today’s meeting the Mayor said: “With the new Coalition government’s drive to reduce the country’s budget deficit and everyone feeling the squeeze, it is essential that as the guardian of this great city, I do all I can to protect the families and people of London from too heavy a tax burden.
“I am committed to delivering more bang for a buck whilst still maintaining frontline services, delivering vital transport improvements and providing opportunities for young Londoners.”
There had been speculation the Mayor would be forced to put up the precept to maintain police numbers. Asked at last month’s Mayor’s Question Time to rule out cutting the number of officers, Mr Johnson would only commit to maintaining them “at or around” current level.
Although City Hall is keen to present news of the grant as a victory, the Mayor is currently facing the loss of around £400m after Ministers slashed the London Development Agency’s budget.
Officials have warned the LDA will be “significantly streamlined” after the Government’s recent spending review left it with only the funds for those projects the organisation “is already legally committed” to.