Boris Johnson has welcomed the London Assembly’s approval of his final City Hall budget.
The budget, which covers spending by Transport for London, the London Legacy Development Corporation, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade, includes a further reduction in City Hall’s share of the council tax as well as funding to maintain police officer numbers “at around 32,000”.
There’s also money for continued investment in apprenticeships while Transport for London will get an additional £250m to increase the number of step-free Tube stations and £200m for bus priority schemes.
The mayor says the budget delivers on a manifesto commitment to cut his share of council tax by 10% over his mayoralty.
However opponents say the claimed saving includes money collected to cover London’s contribution to the Olympics’ costs which, under a long-standing funding agreement with the Government agreed by Ken Livingstone, was always going to fall this year.
In addition, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Stephen Knight has attacked the mayor for waiting until his final weeks in office before delivering on the commitment.
Mr Knight says that in doing do so Mr Johnson has ensured he could spend freely during his eight years as mayor while binding the hands of his successor.
Mayor Johnson said: “This budget delivers the growth and investment London needs to meet its surging population, supporting the delivery of new homes, vital transport infrastructure and protecting frontline policing.
“At the same time, we are relentlessly bearing down on unnecessary costs in order to once again put more money back in the pockets of Londoners by trimming council tax, leading to a ten per cent cut over my second term of office.”
Despite the Mayor’s talking-up of his financial legacy, the budget requires further cuts at the London Fire Brigade which stands to lose 13 fire engines to help balance the books.