2016 has certainly been an extraordinary year – by anyone’s standards! Much has changed around the world and here at City Hall, we have a new Assembly, to scrutinise a new Mayor of London.
The London Assembly Committees have been working flat out over the past year on a number of cross-party reports – we have produced 6 reports since September covering topics as diverse as violence against women and girls, TfL’s financial challenges, supported housing for vulnerable Londoners, EU exit and the financial services, the 2016 Mayor and London Assembly elections and serious youth violence.
The Budget and Performance Committee report into Transport for London’s (TfL) finances identified a number of issues and unanswered questions. With TfL’s revenue grant from Government reducing, added costs for service expansions and implementing the Mayor’s four year fares freeze, how will TfL be able to sustain itself and invest more in the transport network?
Despite increasing reports of domestic abuse, the number of individuals being charged in London has fallen. The Police & Crime Committee report into violence against women and girls looked closely at the rise in reporting, the support available to victims and the ways in which organisations are working together.
The Housing Committee report into supported housing for vulnerable Londoners looked at the delivery of new supported housing in the capital. It highlighted concerns that hundreds of the most vulnerable Londoners face uncertainty, unless the Mayor and the Government step up efforts to fix the situation.
As well as the reports, Mayor’s Question Time (MQT) is another key part of our work. It’s our chance to get detailed answers from Mayor Sadiq Khan ten times a year. These are very important session for Assembly Members, as we raise issues of concern from Londoners and scrutinise the Mayor’s actions.
I’m pleased to say we now broadcast MQT live on Facebook, so watch out for these in 2017 and tune in! London government should be as open and accessible as possible and it’s fantastic to have MQT available to view on both our website and on social media.
This year, as ever, we are united as one across political boundaries for the best interests of London. A good example of this was the Transport Secretary’s decision not to devolve Southeastern rail services to TfL. The Assembly unanimously agreed a motion calling for the Transport Secretary to reconsider his decision. This kind of vital cross-party work goes above party politics and is the bread and butter of what we do here at City Hall.
We look forward to the New Year and 2017, where we will continue our work on the Mayor’s budget, road congestion, mental health inequalities and marginalised groups, green spaces, bus networks and safety, modular housing and much more. Your input into our investigations is vital, so please keep an eye on our website to stay informed about what we’re doing.
As Chairman of the London Assembly and on behalf of your 25 London Assembly Members, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Tony Arbour AM, Chairman of the London Assembly