Who is the Mayor?
Ken Livingstone was elected as the first Mayor of London on 4 May 2000. He was re-elected in June 2004. On 2nd May 2008 Boris Johnson was confirmed as the second Mayor of London.
Who controlled London before the election?
Prior to 1984 there was the Greater London Council (GLC), a London wide body whose final leader was Ken Livingstone.Since 1984 power in London was fragmented between various government and non-government organisations. Most power rested with the Minister for London.
What duties does the Mayor have?
The Mayor must represent and promote London both at home and abroad. He must speak up for Londoners; devise strategies to tackle Londonwide issues, including transport, economic regeneration, environmental concerns (noise, waste, etc.) planning and culture.
He sets the budget for the Greater London Authority and its four new functional bodies: Transport for London, the London Development Agency, the Metropolitan Police Authority and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. He also controls and appoints members to the new transport and economic development bodies and must publish regular reports on the state of the environment in London.
Does the Mayor have any other powers?
The Mayor derives his power to tackle London’s problems from the GLA Act which grants him the general power to do anything that will further the principal purposes of the GLA: to promote economic and social development and the improvement of the environment in Greater London.
In July 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Government announced further powers for the Mayor in eight key areas. These include:
- Responsibilities of the London Housing Board will transfer to the Mayor
- The Mayor will prepare and publish a statutory London Housing Strategy and a strategic Housing Investment Plan, setting out the priorities to meet the housing needs of all Londoners.
- The Mayor will decide the broad distribution of the affordable housing part of the Regional Housing Pot in line with the strategy. In short, the Mayor will decide in broad terms how public money for new affordable housing will be spent.
Learning and Skills
- The Mayor will have a statutory duty to promote skills in London and will chair a new London Skills and Employment Board, drawn from business and other key sectors.
- The Mayor will prepare a new statutory Skills Strategy for London setting priorities and budgets.
- The Mayor will be able to direct changes to boroughs’ programmes for the local development plans they produce.
- The Mayor will have a stronger say on whether draft local development plans are in general conformity to his London Plan.
- The Mayor will have the discretion to determine planning applications of strategic importance.
- The Mayor will lead a London-wide waste and recycling forum, working in collaboration with the boroughs to improve performance in waste management and recycling. The forum will manage a new London waste and recycling fund.
- London’s waste authorities will be required to be in general conformity with the Mayors Municipal Waste Management Strategy, backed up by the Mayor’s power of direction.
- The Mayor and Government will work together closely on the London component of the Waste Infrastructure programme.
- Stronger powers for the Mayor to determine strategic waste planning applications
- A requirement for the boroughs to act in general conformity with the Mayors Waste Strategy
- The Mayor should also appoint the Chairs and some board members of the Arts Council London, the London Regional Sports Board and Museums, Libraries and Archives London.
- The GLA should consult arts, sport and other cultural delivery bodies in the future development of the Mayor’s Cultural Strategy and national and regional strategic cultural bodies should consult the GLA on their strategies, where there is a London impact.
- The Mayor will prepare a strategy to tackle London’s health inequalities and promote the reduction of health inequalities in London.
- The Regional Director for Public Health (RDPH) in London will act as Health Adviser to the Mayor and GLA Group.
Climate Change and Energy
- The Mayor will prepare and publish a statutory Climate Change and Energy Strategy for London, stating how the capital should minimise emissions of carbon dioxide by the use of energy in London, help to eradicate fuel poverty; and harness economic opportunities for London from investment and innovation in energy technologies and energy efficiency.
- He will also prepare and publish a statutory Climate Change Adaptation Strategy setting out how the capital should adapt to the effects of climate change.
- The GLA will be subject to a specific duty to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change and help London adapt to its unavoidable impacts.
- The Secretary of State will have regard to the Mayor’s Water Action Framework when framing guidance to regulators in preparation for a review of water price limits.
Bodies and Appointments
- The Mayor will have the discretion to appoint political representatives to the TfL Board.
- The Mayor will either appoint the Chair of the MPA or assume the role of Chair himself.
- The Mayor will appoint two members of the LFEPA Board, and will be able to direct and issue guidance to the Authority.
Who will the Mayor consult?
The Mayor must consult widely in preparing his strategies and/or exercising his general power. Among those the Mayor may consult are: the London boroughs, representatives of business, the voluntary sector, London’s ethnic and faith communities and other interested bodies.
Must the Mayor promote equal opportunities?
When the Mayor exercises the general power and prepares and implements the strategies, he/she must promote equal opportunities for all people.
How is the Mayor accountable to Londoners?
The Mayor is directly elected every four years. During his term of office the Mayor is subject to a number of checks and balances. The biggest of these is the London Assembly which scrutinises his actions. The Mayor also has to take decisions as far as possible in full public view by:
- consulting interested parties
- informing the Assembly of all major decisions, and provide his reasons for taking them
- attending a minimum of ten Assembly meetings a year and submit to a question session about his actions
- holding an annual ‘State of London’ debate where the his main actions will be reviewed
- holding, with the Assembly, a twice yearly People’s Question Time, at which the public will be free to question the Mayor and Assembly directly
How much does the Mayor earn? Who decides?
The Government accepted the Review Body on Senior Salaries’ recommendation that the Mayor should initially be paid £84,385 plus an increase based on the same level received by the Senior Civil Service for 1 April 2000. This formula is similar to those used to reach salary levels for MPs and Cabinet Ministers.