Mayor Boris Johnson's Plenary Speech

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Feb
9

Thank you Jennette.

I would like quickly to update the Assembly on some changes to the Budget since we last met.

Government settlement

On Monday we received our final settlement from the Department of Communities and Local Government and I am pleased to report that this administration has obtained an excellent deal from the Coalition Government, which allows us to make the most of the extra powers given to the GLA through the Localism Act.

The GLA will receive £3 billion in grant from central Government to 2014/15 to fulfil our new responsibilities as the Homes and Communities Agency and London Development Agency are integrated into City Hall.


Housing and Olympic legacy

During the tightest spending round in generations, this administration has secured £1.9 billion for investing in homes for Londoners and that investment will create up to 100,000 construction jobs.

And it is this administration that will ensure that as many of the new 55,000 affordable homes to be delivered between 2011– 2015 will be family sized.

It is a measure of the trust this government has in the GLA that, with the exception of Greenwich, HCA land holdings have been transferred to the GLA at no cost.

We have struck a new and better deal on the land at the Olympic Park and associated debt. We will receive the first £223 million followed by a division of the receipts and I believe that reflects the Government’s faith in this administration to secure a lasting Olympic legacy.

Economic development

When we arrived in City Hall, we found that much of outer London felt ignored by the previous regime. It is amazing but true that the only time the Borough of Hillingdon received a Mayoral visit was when he was passing through on the way to visit some fashionable Latin American tyrant.

And in sharp contrast, this administration’s Outer London and Regeneration Funds together with the Growing Places Fund will deliver £221 million of investment; improving and maintaining the economic vitality of the capital’s high streets helping to compete with out of town shopping centres, putting fuel in the tank of the outer London economy that is the motor of recovery.

Extra £90 million to MOPC

I can confirm that the MOPC will receive an additional £90 million following a successful negotiation with Government in which we were able to explain the unique combination of challenges that London faces – not just the Diamond Jubilee but along with the 2012 Games along with an increased number of major public order policing operations and the Government listened.

I will deliver and maintain 1,000 more police officers on London’s streets than I inherited and I am absolutely confident that we will be able to protract those high numbers into the future.

I advised that the Labour party have attacked this extra funding for the police and described it as an electoral bung. And all I can say is that any sensible opposition would be congratulating the Deputy Mayor for Policing, Kit Malthouse, and the MOPC on securing this finance. And if Labour are really proposing to hand back that £90 million or to raid TfL’s safer transport budgets then they have shown they cannot be trusted in tough times, manage police budgets or have yet to work out a consistent line of attack.

Cutting waste and the precept

As I said the other week, when we came to City Hall, we found an almost satirical culture of old-fashioned lefty waste that bordered on lunacy.

Some examples of this such as £37,000 on first class tickets to Havana and £10,000 on a subscription to the Morning Star were easy to spot and eliminate.

But we have made big savings as well. Savings that the previous administration shirked or was simply unable to carry through because it was the glove puppets of the unions.

This budget will save another £1.5 billion to the £2 billion already saved.

When we arrived at City Hall there were 1,375 posts across the GLA, HCA and LDA. There are now 845 – a saving of 530 posts and £30 million a year to London’s taxpayers.

It is careful stewardship of public finances that has finally allowed me to freeze my part of the Council Tax for the past three years and this year to cut the precept by 1 percent. This means that under this administration, there has been a real terms cut of 16 percent during a time of an unprecedented squeeze on the public finances.

That shows with crystal clarity what this administration stands for and I invite you to compare our approach with an administration that raised council tax by 152 percent costing a Band D household £964.

That is effectively expropriating people’s holidays to pay for junkets and we must never go back to that approach to government again.

Addressing the Assembly’s budget motion

I have considered carefully the Assembly’s motion and it seems to me to be addressing a completely different budget to the one I am presenting.

This is a budget that will deliver 1,000 more officers on the streets than under my predecessor – protecting frontline policing.

Despite a tight fiscal squeeze, this is a budget that will allow continued delivery of the environmental programmes that will not only reduce carbon emissions but also reduce Londoners’ energy bills.

This is a budget that will deliver more homes across London than under any previous Mayoral term and will create and support hundreds of thousands of jobs.

This is budget that maintains the investment that will allow our city to emerge from the current economic difficulties stronger and more competitive than ever.

Crossrail and the Tube upgrades are on track and will result in a huge increase in rail capacity, reliable journeys and support 32,000 jobs – many of them highly skilled and paid.

It allows us to go ahead with a Transport and Works Act Order for the Northern line extension, which will help to create 25,000 jobs in that part of London where there is so much potential.

And you will have seen TfL’s consultation on the new road tunnel at Silvertown and ferry at Galleon’s Reach.

Conclusion

That is the choice for the next few months.

Do we continue the investment that will grow London’s economy and create permanent, well paid jobs?

Do we continue to make the savings so that we in London’s government can do more for less?

Or do we go back to the old days of waste, division and short-term decisions?

It is an honest and prudent budget that will make key investments in automation and technological improvements that will allow us to keep fares as low as possible.

It avoids the damaging and selfish short-termism that has led to the massive fares hikes of the past.

This is budget for growth. It is budget that protects vital investment in London.

It is a budget for jobs and a budget that will keep our city safe.

It is a budget that will take London forward in the right direction.

And I comment it to the Assembly.

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