Conservatives on the London Assembly have called for more powers to hold the Mayor to account and the establishment of a new independent watchdog to monitor his use of public cash.
The proposals are part of a package of reforms published today that would see London working with other parts of the South East to form a partnership worth “half a trillion pounds to the UK economy.”
A proposed Budget Office for London would provide Assembly Members and Londoners with independent data and analysis of the Mayor’s budget and spending by his agencies.
The establishment of such a body was previously recommended by MPs on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
Today’s report also calls for AMs to be able to scrutinise the Mayor’s capital budgets as well as his revenue budgets, and to be given the power to reject or amend his crime plan, fares increases and local planning decisions, just as they can other mayoral strategies.
It also urges ministers to abolish the ‘top-up’ seats on the Assembly which ensure smaller parties are represented and suggests there should be 32 AMs, each elected to represent one of London’s 32 boroughs.
The report says enhancing the Assembly’s powers is important if additional power is to be devolved from Westminster to the Mayor.
It also suggests that greater co-operation between London and other parts of the South East would help deliver better transport and public services for those who commute into London and greater growth for the region and UK’s economies.
Andrew Boff AM said: “A strong relationship between London and the South-East would be worth some half a trillion pounds to the UK economy.
“In the past London has just swallowed up its surrounding regions, here is an alternative, a partnership where these areas retain their independence. More than anything else ‘Thames City’ would give the South East a say in London’s growth.”