Boris Johnson’s has published his draft budget for the coming year which includes a £3.72 annual cut in City Hall’s share of the council tax.
The Mayor’s 2013/14 budget includes funding for the Met Police, Transport for London, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) which maintains the London Fire Brigade and the Olympic Park Legacy Company.
Mr Johnson said his budget “will cut council tax while making significant strides in growing our economy, fighting crime and improving transport.”
The Mayor added: “Next year the Government will carry out its spending review and I will continue to champion the capital to ensure we get the funding necessary to support the economy and quality of life in this great city.”
One of the Mayor’s funding sources is a levy on the council tax paid by London’s households which is collected on its behalf by the capital’s 33 local authorities.
The levy is one of the Mayor’s few direct funding sources and the sums raised can be used to deliver the Mayor’s policies and secure key London services.
Both the Fire Brigade and Met are facing cuts to their budgets with both services considering closing stations to balance their finances. In addition LFEPA has drawn up proposals to cut the number of fire engines while the Met has announced plans to sell Scotland Yard to plug a £200m funding black hole.
Stephen Knight, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, said the council tax cut showed the Mayor “has the flexibility to lift the threat of fire station closures in London but sadly he has so far failed to do so.”
Mr Knight added: “Instead of such meaningless gimmicks, the Mayor should focus his energies on keeping London’s fire and police stations open and keeping transport fares down.”
Labour Assembly Member John Biggs described the cut – equivalent to 7p per week – as an “insult“ to Londoners which would be dwarfed by the Mayor’s latest fares increase.
Mr Biggs commented: “Wages for the majority of workers are barely rising. It is scandalous that Boris has not used his power to curb fare rises, but at the same time is claiming credit for saving households 7 pence a week.”
The budget will be subject to consultation until January 23rd after which it will be considered for approval by the full London Assembly.