Two reports with very different takes on Boris Johnson’s first year as Mayor of London have been published today.
The first, the Mayor’s Annual Report, is Johnson’s legally required report to Londoners and highlights areas where Johnson has delivered on election promises, including the freezing of the GLA’s Council Tax precept and the scrapping of The Londoner Newspaper.
The welcome extension of half-price travel to those on Jobseeker’s Allowance is also mentioned as is the increase in the number of People’s Question Time sessions.
However, in keeping with Johnson’s practice of inviting Londoners to credit him for the work of his predecessor, a section on Crossrail includes the statement: “In December 2008 Crossrail became a 100 per cent subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL)” but fails to mention that the ownership of Crossrail was first announced in 2007 by the then Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly.
In a statement issued by City Hall on Friday, Mayor Johnson said: “We have made a great deal of progress in opening up the workings of City Hall to the public over the last 12 months. Whether it is publishing the details of every payment over £1000 made by the GLA online or putting the details of all my Deputy Mayor and adviser’s job descriptions and register of interests online, a huge amount of information has been put into the public domain that in the past was hidden away.”
“‘I have also made good on my pledge to increase the number of public question and answer meetings. These occasions are fantastically important occasions, both as a chance for people to quiz my team and I, and as an opportunity for me to glean wisdom and new ideas on an array of issues from Londoners from across our great city.”
The Mayor’s Annual Report can be downloaded from london.gov.uk/mayor/publications/
A Different View
The second report has been compiled and published by Progressive London, the “cross community group” set up by former Mayor Ken Livingstone, and offers a less complimentary view of Johnson’s first 12 months as Mayor.
Accusing Johnson of “relying on the tide against Labour nationally” to get him into City Hall, the Progressive London report claims he has “failed to deliver on many of the few things he did say he would do”.
Set for publication later today, the report accuses Johnson of “relying on the tide against Labour nationally” to get him into City Hall, and claims he has “failed to deliver on many of the few things he did say he would do”.
Criticisms levelled at the Mayor include his lack of progress in negotiating a no-strike deal with Tube unions and his “failure to deliver his promise to fully fund four more rape crisis centres”.
The report says of Johnson “while retaining the image of faintly disconnected fluffiness most of the time, on hard policy and actions his real positions have been clear: raising fares above inflation, slashing investment in public transport, encouraging the worst polluting vehicles, squeezing spending on the police service, ignoring the need for affordable housing, suspending progress on tackling air pollution and axing cultural festivals.”
Resignations by advisors and ‘deputy mayor’s in the early months of Johnson’s administration are cited as examples of Johnson’s “incompetence”.
The Progressive London report will be available from progressivelondon.org.uk
State of London Debate
Londoners will have the chance to hear more from the Mayor at the Annual State of London debate on on May 9th which has returned to it’s usual all day, multi-topic event after Johnson reduced it in 2008 to an evening event focused on the single topic of youth crime.
Places at the debate are free, but attendees must register in advance. The deadline to register for tickets is 12pm on 5 May 2009.
To book your ticket visit london.gov.uk/stateoflondon/register.jsp