By Daniel Hunter

The Mayor of London has announced plans to help hard pressed Londoners by reducing his share of the council tax bill for the second year running. A draft budget released by the Mayor also sets out plans to help boost London’s economy, fight crime and improve transport services.

In his draft budget the Mayor sets out his intention to reduce the Greater London Authority share of the Council Tax bill by 1.2 per cent, which would mean the bill for a Band D property falling from £306.72 to £303.00.

If the Mayor’s budget is approved it will mean his share of the council tax bill has either been frozen or reduced every year since his election in 2008. He would be on course to meet his commitment to reduce the GLA share of the council tax bill by 10 per cent over his second term as Mayor; and has already cut his share by 20 per cent in real terms since becoming Mayor.

In his budget the Mayor makes it clear that in a difficult economic climate the first item on his agenda is making London safer and he will protect the Metropolitan Police’s operational power by ensuring the level of police officers remains at or around 32,000 during his administration. He also sets out how substantial investment will continue to be made with the aim of boosting jobs and growth and supporting the incredible increase in population expected in London over the next 20 years.

Highlights of that investment include further investment in affordable homes and £300m for new transport projects that will help kickstart new developments in key areas such as Tottenham and Elephant & Castle. These projects are made possible through the Mayor’s unrelenting pursuit of savings and he remains committed to delivering annual savings of over half a billion pounds across the GLA group by 2016.

Despite the Mayor’s focus on savings the budget has required difficult decisions to be made as the GLA group has less resources than in previous years. That requires tough but necessary choices and the budget includes proposals to rationalise the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade Estates.

However the Mayor has made it clear that those proposals will not result in a reduction in Police front counter facilities and nor will they lead to any increase in the London Fire Brigade’s targets for response times, which are already some of the best in the UK. Final decisions about those proposals will only be made after public consultations have concluded.

“Against a difficult economic background my planned budget will cut council tax while making significant strides in growing our economy, fighting crime and improving transport," Boris Johnson said.

"Next year the Government will carry out its spending review and I will continue to champion the capital to ensure we get the funding necessary to support the economy and quality of life in this great city.”

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