London’s Mayor says he has identified £10million in savings from the GLA Group and will increase the GLA council precept by less than 30p a week for average Band D council tax bills.
The comments come as Mayor Livingstone publishes his statement on his draft consolidated budget for 2007/8 which he says will see “almost every penny of the increase” spent on policing and safety.
Mr Livingstone claimed he had beaten targets to roll out safer neighbourhood teams by 18 months an achievement which had helped to deliver “an ongoing steady fall in crime in London.”
The Mayor said his budget proposals for the coming year would provide an extra “£44 million to fund the full year cost of neighbourhood policing, including an extra 261 police community support officers to be added to the existing teams covering the more populated neighbourhoods.”
“The average total council tax bill for a Band D household in London will be a total of £5.84 per week. Of this £4.30 pays for the policing of London. 90 pence goes towards the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. Only 18 pence per week goes to the Greater London Authority.”
Mayor Livingstone also “reaffirmed” his earlier promises that Londoners would pay 38 pence per week for the 2012 Olympic Games. However these assurances have been dismissed by critics who point to Government statements that Ministers will make the final funding decisions.
Two weeks ago Damian Hockney, Leader of the One London Party on the London Assembly, published the text of a letter from the Mayor which read:
“Thank you for your email requesting correspondence between the Mayor’s office and any government minister or officer which varies the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Mayor and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport regarding London council tax and the funding of the 2012 Olympics.
I can confirm that there is no such correspondence.”
At the time Mr Hockney said the letter showed “that London council taxpayers shouldn’t believe the Mayor when he says they won’t be asked to pay more than £625 million for the Olympics. Ken can repeat his pledge till he is blue in the face, but it is worthless.”
“The Memorandum is a legally binding document, its meaning is clear and it remains unchanged. He admits he has made no attempt to renegotiate on behalf of Londoners, despite claiming there is no problem.”