The row over the proposed 2007/08 budget continues today with accusations of “lies and smears” over claims by the Mayor that Assembly Members are threatening to cut funding earmarked to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
In his proposed budget the Mayor has included £200,000 to commemorate the event.
A statement issued by the Mayor’s office today claims “proposals to cut the funding were moved by Assembly Member Angie Bray” when she tabled an alternative budget at yesterday’s debate.
Mr Livingstone claimed there was “a straight choice at the final budget meeting on 14 February – whether or not to cut London’s commemoration of the end of the transatlantic slave trade” and vowed to “do everything in my power to keep this commemoration as a key event in London’s calendar.”
However speaking to MayorWatch Ms Bray described the statement as “a pack of lies and smears” adding that “an elementary glance at our budget details would have shown quite clearly that we have not attempted to remove a single penny of what is being proposed to be spent on the commemoration.”
Ms Bray said Assembly Members “felt the money should come from national government coffers as it is a national event” and that “we thought a better way of commemorating the abolition of slavery would have been to put the money into fighting present day slavery and people trafficking.”
“But the money would have certainly remained in place under our budget proposals whatever.”
The row follows yesterday’s disputed claims that AMs wanted to remove the free travel concession for under 16’s in favour of a “pilot” school bus scheme.