By Marcus Leach
The Mayor Boris Johnson has announced in final budget papers today (Wednesday), the first ever cut in the City Hall share of the council tax (GLA precept). This follows a three year freeze of the precept.
The Mayor has allocated funds in next year's budget to the issues that matter the most. He has secured an extra £90m from government to ensure that police on London streets can remain high for the foreseeable future, quadrupled the provision of rape crisis centres on the capital and is on course to deliver 55,000 affordable housing by the end of the year.
Having got to grips with the bureaucracy and spending at City Hall the Mayor is in a position to not only freeze his portion of the council tax but to offer a modest cut in the precept of 1 per cent, underlining the sensible savings he has achieved over the last three years.
Since 2008, with an unprecedented three year freeze and today’s reduction, Boris Johnson’s budgets have delivered Londoners a 16 per cent saving in real terms for his portion of the council tax. Under the eight years of the previous administration, the GLA precept rose by 152 per cent, which is equivalent to the impact of a cumulative increase of £963.58.
"We should never take a penny off hard-pressed Londoners that is not needed to guarantee the safety of the city, to invest in the infrastructure that is vital for London's long-term survival or to help grow the economy," the Mayor Boris Johnson said.
"Thanks to the sensible savings we have achieved over the last three years we can deliver on all our priorities and hand some money back to Londoners. I am proud to have ended eight years of relentless rises in council tax, freezing the precept for the last three years and now take this small step towards easing the burden further."
The budget will allow for significant investment to be made to help regenerate London and will also protect the capital’s police numbers - at the end of this Mayoral term there will be around 1,000 more officers than at the beginning.
It will also ensure that Crossrail and the Tube upgrades will be delivered and fares will be held down as much as is possible, whilst maintaining neo-Victorian levels of investment in transport infrastructure- helping the city to emerge from the current economic difficulties more competitive than ever.
The budget will be subject to final approval by the London Assembly when it meets on Thursday 9th February.
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