Assembly amends Mayor’s draft budget to save 999 services

city_hall_chamber_2013Boris Johnson has been urged to scrap a planned 7p per week cut in City Hall’ share of the council tax in order to save fire stations and police front counters.

Cuts in City Hall and central Government funding mean the London Fire Brigade and Metropolitan Police are having to cut costs.

Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson has proposed closing 12 stations and axing 18 engines to meet the Fire brigade’s £45m budget cut.

The Met is planning to close dozens of front counters which critics say will make it harder for victims to report crimes.

However the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime insists the counters are poorly used and that the move will free up more officers for frontline duties.

On Friday Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat members of the London Assembly passed an amendment to the Mayor’s draft 2013/14 budget which would freeze City Hall’s share of the council tax at £306.72.

This would provide the Mayor with a further £9.43m, of which the amendment proposes allocating £4m to safeguard front counters with the balance allocated to the fire service.

Friday’s meeting was the first part of a two-stage budget setting process. Amendments passed at the first stage need only be approved by a simple majority and must be considered by the Mayor.

Labour AM John Biggs, who proposed the amendment, said: “Londoners are being asked to accept a few crumbs in the form of a 7p a week cut in their council tax in exchange for dangerous and irreversible cuts to their emergency services and above inflation increases in tube and bus fares.”
 
Lib Dem AM Stephen Knight added: “The Assembly today made a choice to put protecting Londoners and the emergency services they rely on ahead of a 7p a week shaving from the council tax.
 
“When it comes to tackling fires every second counts, Londoners lives are worth more than 7p a week”

The Assembly will consider the Mayor’s final budget at its meeting on February 25th. Amendments to the final budget require a two-thirds majority of Assembly Members present at the meeting.

Comments

  1. ASLEF shrugged says

    25 GLA members, Labour have 12, LibDems and Greens 2 each, somehow I don’t think one of the 9 Tories is going to back the ammendment to get the 0.66% needed.