London’s emergency and transport services will find it “increasingly difficult” to maintain service levels in the wake of budget cuts, according to the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee.
Assembly Members on the committee say cuts in funding will leave London’s police, fire and transport services struggling to find “substantial additional savings” ever year until 2014/15.
AMs also warn that “the sheer scale of the savings required will inevitably have an effect” despite Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s attempts to protect front-line services.
Committee chair John Biggs AM said despite the Mayor’s attempts to minimise the impact of grant reductions, “substantial savings will be required in all of the GLA organisations next year and beyond.”
In recent weeks AMs have heard from senior figures within the Met, Transport for London and Fire Brigade about their ability to safeguard frontline services despite the cut and to make the necessary spending cuts.
An estimated £100 million cut in the Met’s grant funding next year has left senior officers looking for £61 million of savings in addition to £158million of efficiencies already identified.
The cuts are also creating uncertainty over the Mayor’s aspiration to maintain officer numbers “at or around” current levels.
Transport chiefs face a grant reduction of £2.17 billion over the next four years which, despite fare increases, will require TfL to find further savings.
The ‘back loading’ of cuts in the Fire Brigade’s budget means service chiefs need find only £10.9 million in savings next year, however uncertainty surrounding the size of future cuts means the Brigade is unable to plan with certainty while looking at how more substantial savings can be made.
Biggs concluded: “The Mayor is responsible for several of London’s key services, allowing him to spread the effects of grant cuts across several large organisations. He has started to do this for 2011/12, but we want to see more evidence that the decisions he makes now are part of a long-term plan to protect services in London.”