London households will pay £3.10 less per year towards the cost of City Hall after Mayor Boris Johnson announced a cut in his share of the Council Tax.
The Greater London Authority charges a precept on the Council Tax collected by local councils.
The sums raised help pay towards the cost of delivering the Mayor’s policies and initiatives.
The Mayor’s draft budget which he presented to the Assembly last week did not forecast a cut. Johnson’s campaign team had called for Londoners to lobby their AMs to pass that version of the budget.
City Hall says the council tax precept will fall from £309.82 to £306.72 in 2012/13 under the revised budget.
In a statement Johnson said: “We should never take a penny off hard-pressed Londoners that is not needed to guarantee the safety of the city, to invest in the infrastructure that is vital for London’s long-term survival or to help grow the economy.
“Thanks to the sensible savings we have achieved over the last three years we can deliver on all our priorities and hand some money back to Londoners. I am proud to have ended eight years of relentless rises in council tax, freezing the precept for the last three years and now take this small step towards easing the burden further.”
Commenting on the cut, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Mike Tuffrey said: “Just a week ago the Mayor of London was resisting the Liberal Democrat’s alternative budget which proposed a tax cut three times larger, at over 3%. Our proposals would save the average Londoner £10 a year, not the small amount this Mayor is now suggesting.”
“This looks like a pre-election gimmick from Boris Johnson, and not a serious attempt to share with Londoners the fruits of the central government grant and savings from reduced waste. He could and should do more.”
Labour’s Ken Livingstone said, “This is just £3.10 a year, whereas I will save Londoners on average £1000 over four years by cutting the fares on October 7th this year.
‘I believe in tough times Londoners need a Mayor who will cut the cost of living. Boris Johnson’s announcement today would hardly pay for a single tube journey.”
Green Party Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones said: “This is gesture politics, which does next to nothing for hard pressed Londoners. Households will save 6p a week in council tax, compared to the extra £2.50 a week that a typical household are paying this year in higher fares.
“Even this small cut means less money for the Mayor’s already inadequate environmental and employment programmes. It will mean that homes won’t be insulated, Londoners won’t cut millions off their energy bills and new jobs won’t be created.”
Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick said: “The London Liberal Democrats have a fully costed proposal to reduce council tax by 3%. As a Liberal Democrat Mayor I am determined to make a real difference to Londoners, not just token gestures.
“Whilst any reduction in council tax is welcome I’m not going to spend too long working out how I would spend my extra £3.10 a year.”
Labour’s budget spokesman on the London Assembly, John Biggs said: “We support a freeze in difficult times but this tiny cut will save Londoners pennies – just about enough to buy one extra onion a month. By contrast his fare rises are costing anyone who has to get around the city hundreds of pounds more a year. Cynical stunts like this show the Mayor is out of touch and that, far from saving Londoners money, he is actually pick-pocketting them”