You won’t find it mentioned on the GLA or TfL’s websites, but Boris Johnson is apparently prepared to give up one of the few powers he has, namely the ability through TfL to determine the amount the boroughs must pay for the Freedom Pass.
We know this because it was announced in a press release issued by London Councils but not, seemingly, by any part of the GLA.
As others have noted, Boris only has a lease on the office of Mayor and the powers he’s prepared to give away are unlikely to be recovered by his successors. London needs its Mayor to have greater power and autonomy, not less.
Secondly, his own deal with the boroughs agrees a funding formula until 2014/15 so there’s no need for him to use the powers until well into his (potential) second term.
In his defence Boris has always been clear about his desire to have a different relationship with the boroughs then Ken had, this is most obvious in his approach to planning, but surely this doesn’t go as far as wanting to neuter the office he holds?
As for the idea that the non-London representing Transport Secretary have the final word, isn’t that exactly the opposite approach Boris (rightly) took over the fate of the Met Commissioner and his right to have a say in his successor?
Only last September Boris saw how independent arbitration could leave TfL with a funding gap so why has it suddenly agreed “to support London Councils in promoting legislation to ensure that, in the event of the Reserve Scheme coming into force, the cost to the Boroughs will be determined by independent arbitration not by TfL alone”?
By what logic would TfL want to be tied into preparing lengthy and costly submissions to an independent arbiter when it currently has the ability to make a speedy decision on behalf of Londoners?