As anticipated last week, the Government’s spending review is likely to leave the London Development Agency with only the funds for projects the organisation is “is already legally committed” to.
An email sent this afternoon by Greater London Authority Chief Executive Leo Boland to all City Hall staff and London Assembly Members confirms that the budget cuts will lead to a “significantly streamlined” organisation.
The email says the LDA have announced “the beginning of a formal consultation period with their staff”.
The reduction in the agency’s £400m budget to just £56m excluding the Olympics is likely to have a severe impact on Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s policies.
Mr Boland’s email says officials “are working through the potential impact on the programmes and projects the LDA delivers on behalf of the Mayor to determine how we can best prioritise limited resources.”
Boland told GLA staff likely to be affected by the budget cuts “the way forward will be dependent on the outcome of the final settlement from Government” and that he expected “the position to be clearer by late November.”
In a statement the LDA said it “had planned various scenarios as part of our preparations for closure in March 2012. Despite this low settlement, we intend to continue to meet our project commitments and move towards an orderly wind down.”
“We are consulting staff and trade unions to explore how we can achieve staff reductions and meet our commitments.”
Last week the Mayor held a rare City Hall press conference to set out how the government’s spending review would impact on the capital.
Questioned by the media Mr Johnson, who previously told the London Assembly he would mount a “Stalingrad-like defence” of the capital, dismissed suggestions that the London’s funding settlement was the “bare minimum” any Government would have offered.
Yesterday the Mayor backtracked on comments comparing prosed changes to Housing Benefit levels to social cleansing. A statement issued by the Mayor’s office accused journalists of taking his comments “out of context”.
Green Party Assembly Member Darren Johnson said Ministers had left the Mayor’s climate change strategies “in tatters” by withdrawing funding.
Mr Johnson commented: “The Government has cut the Mayor’s plans to create 14,000 jobs, cut our energy bills and revitalise our parks. With no money to pay for his flagship programmes, his climate change strategies now lie in tatters. The Mayor’s defence of the environment was more of a Maginot Line than a Stalingrad moment.
“The hundreds of staff who will lose their jobs have been failed by a Government committed to cutting spending without any understanding of how they meet London’s pressing needs.”
Ken Livingstone, Labour’s 2012 Mayoral candidate, accused his successor of “failing to stand up for London” and said previous promises to do so had been exposed as “a sham.”
Livingstone added: “Events this week suggest an approach reminiscent of Dads Army than the Stalingrad style defence Boris Johnson promised.”
Labour frontbencher Tessa Jowell described news of the agency’s ultimate closure as an “extraordinary” decision which she said was “contrary to assurances that have already been given – that the LDA would continue to drive economic growth in London, even if it was to be brought under the direct management of the Mayor.”