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Report to the Assembly on the Mayor’s

Report to the Assembly on the Mayor’s

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Published by: MatthewHarris on Jan 30, 2010
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Report to the Assembly on the Mayor’sDraft Consolidated Budget for 2010 –2011
Report to: London AssemblyDate:27 January 2010Report of:Liberal Democrat GroupProposed by:Mike TuffreySeconded by:Dee Doocey
 The Liberal Democrat Group on the London Assembly proposes thisamendment which:
Restores Boris Johnson’s £16.4 million cut in Council Tax fundingfor the police
Redirects police spending to priorities such as knife and gun crimeand child trafficking and away from perks for senior officers andother wasteful items
Brings in the One Hour Bus Ticket and supports innovative bus,cycling and walking schemes
Cuts waste at City Hall and returns excessive reserves toLondoners through a 2.6% cut in the Council Tax precept.As in previous years, this package achieves both savings and increasedefficiencies, while proposing imaginative safety, transport, andenvironmental initiatives. We know that for many families in London thisfinancial year will be a tough one. Our budget package will cost a BandD Council Tax payer £301.91, a real cut of 2.6% in the GLA precept,saving 58p per week – nearly double the temporary supplement for theOlympics.We are proposing a budget that is fair to all Londoners, proposingchanges that are sustainable and proposing fully costed ideas whichprotect and enhance public services in the capital. At a time when mostboroughs in London are holding down their costs and charges, we tooare offering a fair deal for tax and fare payers.
 This report is made up of two Parts, A and B. The text in Part A does not form part of the formal budget amendments, which are set out in Part B.
 The Mayor has reduced the amount of council tax precept for theMetropolitan Police by £16.4million.
We have restored that cut in ourbudget amendment. The Liberal Democrats fully support the overall approach in MPA/MPSDraft Policing London Business Plan 2010-13 and believe there should beno cuts in overall expenditure. However within the overall budget, webelieve that additional resources should be directed to front line policing,funded from reductions in expenditure that we consider unnecessary.Our proposals (appendix 1) are backed up by detailed calculations (seenotes), which use figures taken from the Met’s own published costings.We are happy for our calculations to be scrutinised by the MPA/MPS toconfirm their accuracySpecifically, we propose:
 To reverse the 5% cut in Borough Devolved Budgets, puttingmoney back into front-line policing;
 To make tackling gun and knife crime one of the highest priorities,in particular by funding 246 extra officers in the Boroughs with thehighest incidence of gun and knife crime;
 To provide embroidered numerals on police epaulettes, and namebadges, to ensure that officers, PCSOs and Special Constables maybe easily identified by the public; and
 To expand the Paladin team to allow increased policing of childtrafficking.We propose that these costs be met by cutting unnecessary expenditurein the police service. Senior officers should use public transport ratherthan chauffeur-driven limousines unless it is essential for operationalpurposes, and should not use first or business class when flying on Metbusiness. We believe that a major reduction in the Met’s Directorate of Public Affairs would have no impact on London’s policing, neither wouldreductions by a third in the Met’s use of consultants.
[See appendix 1 for further detail]
Sustaining London’s emergency service
See note 9, p.11
 The main threat for future years to the
London Fire and EmergencyPlanning Authority
is the uncertainty about government funding.However LFEPA’s reserves of £27.2million are excessive, sufficient tomeet even the most pessimistic of the Mayor’s targets as far ahead as2014. Officers at LFEPA have reported:
“The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority 
takes a generally prudent approach to cost estimation and budgeting indicates that a general reserve level of 2.5%(£10.9m based upon the current forecast budget and costing for 2010/11) can currently be deemed to be adequate…(LFEPA 2010-11 Budget Report, 16 November 2009)
Some of LFEPA’s excess reserves of £27.2million can be used to supportthe 2010-11 capital budget, but the majority can be prudently releasedto reduce the call on the precept this year.Some additional capital spending is cost effective. Last December theMayor launched the Building Energy Efficiency Programme with muchmedia hype and claims that 20 fire stations were in line for energysaving capital works. However within weeks LFEPA had decided to de-prioritise the scheme and no project is included in the capitalprogramme until 2012/13 - after the end of the Mayor’s term of office. These works can have a relatively fast pay-back period for the initialoutlay, and will significantly improve the Brigade’s work to cut carbonemissions. We propose that these works be reinstated. There are Grade II listed cottages at the rear of West Hampstead FireStation. They are in poor condition and have been identified as “At Risk”by English Heritage. A Brigade scheme to refurbish them will provideaccommodation for fire-fighters and provide rental income as well assatisfy the Brigade’s statutory obligations to preserve the buildings.Nevertheless, the Conservative leadership of the Authority refuse to act,unless and until the local authority takes enforcement action (at a costto their local taxpayers). We do not accept such shoddy behaviour froma public authority and would pay for the vital work to be undertaken.
[See appendix 2 for further detail]
A better way to go
We propose to change the priorities within
Transport for London’s
budget, move ahead with important initiatives and reduce TfL’s£12million share of the precept to £1million. This will improve the levelof services for Londoners and provide value for money for passengersand taxpayers. The highlight of our package is the ‘One Hour’ bus ticket, a fair way tocharge passengers who have to take more than one bus in order to

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