Boris Johnson loves to paint himself as a financially responsible politician, freezing his share of the council tax while driving down costs to avoid the sort of financial “black hole” he accuses his predecessor of leaving behind.
Coalition austerity measures have allowed Boris to come out against cuts to London’s budgets without the wider media picking up on the fact that City Hall’s council tax share could be used to offset those cuts and protect services.
Boris is so proud of this Fund that he trumpets it on his re-election website, presumably as a reason Londoners should reward their financially prudent Mayor with a second term.
Candidate Boris says the fund:
“will also provide secure futures for those who live and work locally – improving the quality of life of many and giving a boost to the economic growth across the vital network of outer London town centres.”
but today’s London Assembly pre-budget report finds that:
“the business case for borrowing £40 million for the Outer London Fund has not yet been made.”
This isn’t the only scheme Boris has borrowed for, in fact he’s committed himself to so much borrowing that the Assembly claims:
“The capacity for borrowing to support Mayoral objectives may already have been reached. The Committee was told that the £110 million of borrowing planned would use all the GLA’s current borrowing capabilities.”
The cost of Boris maxing out his credit card looks to be enormous, the report states:
“From 2014/15, and for an unspecified period, there will be an ongoing annual cost to the GLA of over £10 million for interest and loan repayments, which will reduce the amount of revenue funding available in future years.”
These repayments will of course be funded by the very same families Boris claims to be helping by not raising the necessary funds from the interest free Council Tax precept.