05 April 2012

Supporting older Londoners

By Boris Johnson"Supporting older Londoners" manifesto

Today I launched my plans for supporting older Londoners.

I’m proud that London is a fantastically diverse city, boasting not just a great cultural and ethnic mix but also a great mix of ages.

London is neither a ‘young’ city nor a retirement town. It defies such descriptions, with a significant older population living alongside a younger one, contributing a huge amount from the capital’s culture and economy.

There are over 1.2 million people in London who are aged 60 and over, and this proportion is expected to grow fast over the next 20 years. The number of people over 65 is projected to increase by 34% (nearly 300,000) to reach 1.17 million by 2031.

The biggest concern for older Londoners is to ensuring their home and neighbourhood is safe and their environment a pleasant place to live. That is why I have worked hard to cut waste and make sure public funding is spent on Londoners priorities, including putting a 1,000 extra police officers on London’s streets since 2008 leading to a 10% cut in overall crime and 30% on the bus network; scrapping my predecessor’s propaganda newspaper ‘The Londoner’ and investing the savings on planting 10,000 street trees; and protecting and extending the Freedom Pass to 24 hours.

But there is more to do. I feel like a man who has built half a bridge. I can see the other side and what needs to be done.

I will:

  • Reverse the decision by the previous Labour government to raise the age for which people were eligible for the Freedom Pass and ensure every Londoner aged 60 has one, from 1st September 2012.
  • Lobby the suburban rail companies to allow its use before 9.30am.
  • Protect the roll out of step free stations as part of the Tube upgrade from Ken Livingstone’s plans to take £1.14 billion out of the transport budget.
  • Give older Londoners a greater voice in neighbourhood policing through new Safer Neighbourhood Boards with substantial increases to Safer Neighbourhood Teams in every ward in Greater London.

But above all, I will continue to keep the Mayor’s share of council tax low, which has put an average of £445 back in Londoner’s pockets since I was elected.

This shows we have made progress despite difficult times. At the Mayoral election on 3rd May this progress is at risk. The choice at this election is between taking London backwards and fresh-thinking and optimism for London’s future.

Categories: Campaign Updates, London, quality of life | Tags: Council tax, Freedom pass, Neighbourhood policing, Snt, Suburban rail

05 April 2012

TfL Board Members Dispute Ken's Fares Claims

Today, Transport for London board member and former Minister for Transport in London Steve Norris wrote a letter to the Telegraph disputing Ken Livingstone's claim that he can cut fares without harming investment and services.

Saying that it's time for a "reality check" on Ken's claims, Norris writes that "It is disingenuous to claim that [cutting fares] would not have dire consequences for London’s public transport."

Read the full copy of Norris's letter below, which was originally published in the Telegraph here (scroll halfway down the letters page).

SIR – Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, can fight his own battles, but when I hear my old adversary Ken Livingstone, the Labour mayoral candidate, claiming he could slash fares in London without it having an effect on service levels or investment, it is time for a reality check.

As a former Minister for Transport in London (1992 to 1996) and a member of the Transport for London (TfL) board, I have scrutinised the accounts of London transport for the past 20 years. There is not, nor ever has been, a hidden pot of gold that could fund major fare cuts painlessly. The claim that there is a £727 million surplus to dip into has been comprehensively debunked by Channel 4’s FactCheck.

The cash sitting on TfL’s balance sheet is there to fund Crossrail. To maintain services and planned investment, TfL has taken substantial cost-saving measures, with a significant reduction in its headcount over the past four years.

TfL is a much tighter ship than it was under the previous mayor and every penny it takes in is earmarked to run the system, catch up on decades of under-investment and provide services for London’s rising population. The Mayor, not TfL, sets London’s fares. Cutting them would be a political choice. It is disingenuous to claim that it would not have dire consequences for London’s public transport.

Steve Norris
Conservative London mayoral candidate in 2000 and 2004
London SW1

UPDATE: 6 April 2012

A second Transport for London Board member has written disputing Ken Livingstone's claim that he can cut fares without damaging services or investment.

Read Eva Lindholm's full letter to the Guardian below (scroll to the second letter):

During the current London mayoral campaign, a claim has been made that public transport fares could be cut significantly, and that such a cut would neither trigger a reduction in services nor a cut to TfL's programme of investment, such as upgrading the tube and building Crossrail.

As a member of TfL's board, I would like to underscore that there is no pool of idle surplus funds at TfL that could be used to neutralise the impact of a major fares cut. The claim that there is a £727m surplus that could be used for such a purpose has been disproved by Channel 4's FactCheck. The cash currently lodged on TfL's balance sheet has in fact been raised through Treasury-approved borrowing specifically to pre-fund TfL's contractual commitments to the construction of Crossrail and other budgeted items.

To ensure its ability to finance London's current transport services as well as catch up on decades of underinvestment the system, TfL has implemented a rigorous series of cost-saving measures during the past four years. These measures, which feature a significant headcount reduction, have left no possibility for the accumulation of a large pool of unallocated funds. Therefore no Londoner should be under the impression that fare cuts could be implemented without negative consequences for TfL's finances and for the current and future state of public transport spending in London.

Eva K Lindholm
TfL board member

UPDATE: 9 April 2012

A third Transport for London Board member has now written to dispute the claim made by Ken Livingstone that he can fund a fares cut without putting investment or services at risk.

Read Charles Garnett's full to the Independent below (scroll to the 8th letter):

TfL cannot afford to reduce fares

As a member of the TfL Board for the past five years, I have seen the real benefit that London is starting to get from the long-overdue, significant investment in the Tube, under both Mayors. We cannot afford to put future investment at risk by cutting London's fares, which are set by the Mayor rather than TfL, when there is still so much to be done for the Tube and the recently commenced Crossrail.

The money from fares, in spite of all the recent cost-cutting by the Tube, is essential to help fund the investment London needs. Unfortunately, there are no reserves in TfL's finances that can both cut fares and maintain the Tube investment programme.

Christopher Garnett
London SW15

Categories: Campaign Updates, transport | Tags: Fares, Ken livingstone, Tfl, Transport

05 April 2012

Boris wishes a happy and healthy Passover to London's Jewish Community

In recognition of the start of the Passover festival, Boris Johnson today released a statement:

“I want to wish the very best to London’s entire Jewish community celebrating the Passover festival.

“I’m proud that London is a fantastically diverse city, boasting not just a great cultural and ethnic mix but also a great mix of ages. I am very aware of the contributions made to our city by London’s Jewish community in many areas, such as the arts, medicine, business and politics.

“Today I visited the Jewish Community Centre in Redbridge and saw first-hand the great work volunteers do there supporting older Londoners. 

“I wish a happy and healthy Passover to you and your family. Chag Sameach.”

Boris Johnson’s 9 point plan for a Greater London:

  1. Cutting waste at City Hall – freeing up £3.5 billion for services
  2. Putting £445 back in your pocket by freezing the Mayoral share of council tax
  3. Creating 200,000 new jobs over the next four years
  4. Making our streets and homes safer with1,000 more police on the beat
  5. Restoring 300 acres of green space and planting 20,000 street trees
  6. Investing £221 million to transform local high streets, supporting small businesses
  7. Ensuring a true Olympic legacy – 11,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs
  8. Reducing Tube delays 30% by 2015. Building Crossrail and orbital rail to link our suburbs. Extending the Bike Hire scheme
  9. Securing a better deal for London from No 10

Categories: London | Tags: Boris johnson, Passover

05 April 2012

Boris wishes a happy and peaceful Easter to Londoners from all Christian faiths

In recognition of the importance of Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday to London’s Christians, Boris Johnson today released a statement:

“As Londoners from all Christian faiths attend services this weekend, it is important to recognize the important work Christians do for our city. Churches are often at the heart of our communities, and I admire the important work many of their congregants do to help families through difficult times. 

“I’m proud that these activities and values are shared by many Londoners, regardless of their nationality and beliefs. London is a fantastically diverse city, boasting not just a great cultural and ethnic mix but also a great mix of ages.

“I wish Christian Londoners and their families a happy and peaceful Easter.”

 

Categories: London | Tags: Boris johnson, Easter

04 April 2012

Fact Check: Ken Livingstone's Crime Manifesto

Ken Livingstone launched his crime manifesto today, but yet again he is making false claims and empty promises.

And despite his claim not to be engaging in negative campaigning, his manifesto mentions Boris Johnson 17 times in a 19-page document.

Ken Livingstone’s latest false claims on crime:

  • Police numbers. Despite Ken Livingstone claims about cuts, official Met data shows there will be 1,000 more police officers on the beat than Boris Johnson inherited. According to the Met, there are 209 new officers coming on board in April, bringing the total officer numbers to 32,468 – well over a thousand above the 31,398 Boris inherited.
  • Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Ken Livingstone claims that Boris has cut the number of officers in Safer Neighbourhood Teams (Ken Livingstone campaign, Press Release, 4 April 2012). However, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that there has not been a reduction in the number of PCs and PCSOs within Safer Neighbourhood Teams (MPS Website, ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’, link).
  • Crime rates. Crime is coming down under Boris:
    • Total crime has been cut by 10.8 per cent (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012). Comparing 45 months of Ken Livingstone (Aug 04 – Apr 08) with 45 months of Boris Johnson (May 08 – Jan 12).
    • Robberies are down 16.3 per cent (ibid.).
    • Murders are down by 25.9 per cent (ibid.).
    • Youth violence is down by 13.8 per cent since 2008 (MOPC Statistics).
    • Bus crime is down by 32.9 per cent (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012, 45 month comparison).
    • Violence on buses is down by 21 per cent (TfL, Crime and Anti Social Behaviour Statistical Bulletin, Q2 11/12, Table 2.1, link).
    • Tube crime is down by 20 per cent (TfL, Press Release, 21 February 2011, link).
  • Knife crime.  Ken Livingstone claims that knife crime has risen every year for the past three years (Ken Livingstone, Crime Manifesto, link). In fact, across London knife crime fell by 1.2 per cent in 2009/10 (MPS, Annual Report 2008/09, p. 23, link; MPS Website, link).

 

Ken Livingstone’s previous false claims on crime:

Ken Livingstone’s claim:  Ken Livingstone claimed that crime has ‘sort of flatlined’ under Boris Johnson (BBC TV, London News, 4 January 2012, link).

The truth:  Using a direct comparison with Ken Livingstone’s period in office, crime has fallen by 10.8 per cent under Boris Johnson (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012, link. Comparing 45 months of Ken Livingstone (August 2004 – April 2008) with 45 months of Boris Johnson (May 2008 – January 2012)..  From August 2004 to April 2008 there were 3,486,028 offences reported in London.  Between May 2008 and January 2012 there were 3,110,245 offences reported – a fall of 10.8 per cent).

 

Ken Livingstone claim: In the last year there has been an 8 per cent increase in murders (Ken Livingstone, BBC London, 26 March 2012). 

The truth:  Taking a rolling 12 month period, murder is down by 24.1 per cent in the 12 months to February 2012 when compared to the 12 months previously (Metropolitan Police Website, ‘Latest Crime Figures for London’, link; Metropolitan Police Website, ‘Crime Mapping: Data Tables’, link).

 

Ken Livingstone is making promises on police he knows he cannot keep

Safer Neighbourhood Teams – every team or just some?

  • Ken Livingstone won’t say whether these will be PCs or PCSOs or whether he will boost every Safer Neighbourhood Team. He just says ‘more’ SNTs will be increased to 9 officers (Ken Livingstone, Crime Manifesto, p.7). 
  • By contrast Boris has said how he will to boost every Safer Neighbourhood Team with 2,000 more police, including up to 3 more police officers per team. If re-elected, Boris Johnson will work with the Commissioner to deliver a massive boost to Safer Neighbourhood Teams, with an additional 2,000 police, including adding up to three police officers, to every team. Each team will also get three Special Constables to further boost police presence in our neighbourhoods (Boris Johnson, Crime Manifesto, 2 April 2012).

 

1,700 more police officers – where’s the money coming from?

Ken Livingstone fails to explain how he will fund the extra officers. He says he will:

  • Make TfL pay the full cost of the Safer Transport Command – but they already do. ‘Ensure that Transport for London pays the full cost of the Safer Transport Command (£80 million over the Mayoral term)’ (ibid.). But The Safer Transport Command is already fully funded by TfL (MPA, Finance and Resources Committee: Report 9, 17 June 2010, link).
  • Make efficiencies at Scotland Yard, such as cutting first class travel – but Ken Livingstone charged City Hall £66,000 in expenses when he was mayor. ‘Work with the Commissioner to ensure that all possible efficiencies are found at Scotland Yard, including non- essential spending on such things as chauffeur driven cars and first-class travel’ (Ken Livingstone campaign, Press Release, 4 April 2012). Ken Livingstone charged City Hall £66,000 in expenses when he was mayor, including £6,404 on 1st class flights to Florida (Mail on Sunday, 1 April 2012).

 

Ken Livingstone’s record on crime 

  • Under Ken Livingstone violent crime increased. Violent crime in London went up 11.2 per cent between 2000/01 and 2007/08 (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone drug crime more than doubled. Drug crime in London increased by 201.6 per cent between 2000/01 and 2007/08 (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone actual bodily harm almost doubled. Cases of ABH in London increased by 30,641 between 2000/01 and 2007/08, a rise of 84 per cent (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone harassment almost doubled. Cases of Harassment in London increased by 20,909 between 2000/01 and 2007/08, a rise of 88.9 per cent (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone Tube crime increased. Between 2001/02 and 2007/08 public disorder offences increase by 521 per cent, violent crime was up by 56 per cent and drug crime was up by 128 per cent (British Transport Police, Statistical Bulletin 2002/03 – 2007/08, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone bus crime increased. The London Assembly Transport Committee found at the beginning of 2008 that overall crime on buses had increased by over 17 per cent between 2004/05 and 2005/06 (London Assembly Transport Committee, Crime and Disorder on London’s Buses, January 2008, p.8, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone violence on buses increased by 9%. At the start of his second term in 04/05 violence against the person stood at 7,712 offences (Transport for London, Crime and anti social behaviour statistics bulletin Q1 07/08, Table 2.1, link). By the end of his second term in 07/08 violence against the person stood at 8,400 offences; a rise of 9% (Ibid. Q1 08/09, Table 2.1, link).

Categories: Campaign Updates, crime | Tags: Crime, Ken livingstone, Manifesto

04 April 2012

Growing the London Economy

By Boris Johnson"Growing the London Economy" - Boris Johnson's Economy Manifesto

Today I launched my economy manifesto and I wanted you to be one of the first to read it.

We are going through tough economic times, and Londoners are understandably concerned about their jobs and the cost of living. That is why my priorities over the last four years have been cutting waste and bureaucracy at City Hall and ensuring your tax money is put where Londoners want to see it spent.

Despite the impact of the economic downturn, London has remained resilient. The employment rate has grown faster in London than anywhere else in the country. The capital continues to be the economic engine room of the nation, with Londoners generating around 22% of the UK’s economy (measured by gross value added).  This has been driven not only by the large multinationals located here and our financial services, but also by London’s growing creative and digital industries, its small and medium enterprises, and its sole traders.

The millions of people who work in business here have all, in one way or another, contributed to London’s phenomenal success and will contribute to the sustained recovery of the UK economy as a whole.

My predecessor had no economic growth plan for London. Millions of pounds were wasted by his London Development Agency because the LDA lacked credible systems to create economic growth on a cost-effective basis. Instead, he spent more time on flights to Havana and Venezuela than on securing the investment London needs, and more time sniping at and undermining the industries that provide hundreds of thousands of jobs for Londoners than supporting them.

I have changed that. I have relentlessly stood up for the capital, cut unnecessary waste to reinvest in economic growth and secured record funding from No 10. And will continue to do so.

Above all, I will secure a fair deal for London from the Government. It is time to review the funding arrangements for London, to ensure the capital gets back what it deserves. I will therefore set up an independent commission to examine whether it is time to introduce a Barnett style formula for London.

I will:

  • Continue to move London forward, with positive leadership and fresh ideas to bolster London’s premier position as a global city.
  • Help grow Greater London’s economy, protect existing jobs, create new ones, and boost skills and training
  • Safeguard hard-won investment in our transport network, and cut council tax.
  • Establish the London Enterprise Panel across Greater London, and stimulate growth through investment in the Enterprise Zone in the Royal Docks and relief for business rates.
  • Invest £221 million to transform high streets and support small businesses.
  • Launch a new London Growth Fund with the £70 million I persuaded the Chancellor to allocate to London in this year’s Budget, supporting businesses to expand and creating thousands of new jobs.
  • Directly create more than 200,000 jobs for those seeking work, and continue to improve skills by creating on average 1,000 new apprenticeships every week and ensure they benefit from the same travel discounts as full-time students.
  • Continue to support London’s green economy, with plans to deliver a total of 20,000 street trees, restoring 300 acres of green space, and retrofitting tens of thousands of homes to reduce household energy bills by an average of £180 a year.

Every pound possible has been removed from unnecessary bureaucracy and reinvested in economic growth. I have stood up relentlessly for the interests of the London economy, combating pointless red tape and crippling taxes, whether they come from London or Brussels. I have always energetically promoted London internationally.

I have secured record funding from No 10 for the capital’s transport network of more than £20 billion, delivering both the Tube upgrade and Crossrail to create the modern transport network our economy needs, and creating 32,000 jobs in the process. We have also secured the Thameslink upgrade.

I have also transformed opportunities for young Londoners by creating more than 54,000 apprenticeships. I intend to do more and deliver 100,000 new apprenticeships by the end of this year.  I have helped the unemployed get back into work through subsidised travel and expanded the London Living Wage.  I have reduced business crime, and started to transform great swathes of the capital through the regeneration of the Royal Docks and the Battersea, Nine Elms, Vauxhall area, creating jobs and securing new funding to drive even more growth.

Having provided a record number of affordable homes for low and middle income Londoners, I have also secured major new investment powers on housing. Despite a tough spending round I secured more than £3 billion for housing and regeneration, in addition to negotiating the transfer of 530 hectares of land to City Hall at no cost.

We have made progress despite difficult times. At the Mayoral election on 3rd May this progress is at risk. The choice at this election is between taking London backwards, and my plan to ensure we continue to grow our economy, working constructively with the private sector to create jobs, drive investment and make London the best city to live in.

Categories: Campaign Updates, economy, housing, jobs and skills, London, quality of life | Tags: Economy, Growth, Investment, Jobs, Manifesto

03 April 2012

Ken Livingstone is at it again…

On today’s LBC Mayoral debate, Ken Livingstone was at it again, telling more lies in a desperate attempt to get elected. Today alone, he told 12 lies.

The Mayoral election on 3rd May is about trust and Ken Livingstone has yet again shown that he simply cannot be trusted.

 

Lie 1: Ken Livingstone said he wouldn’t introduce a £25 congestion charge.

  • Reality: Last year he said he would introduce a £25 congestion charge. ‘Oh yes the £25 charge for gas guzzlers we’ll be straight back for that because we now know that at least 4000 people die a year prematurely because of our poor air quality’ (Scoop Website, 6 April 2011, link). 

 

Lie 2: Ken Livingstone said he wouldn’t extend the Western Extension Zone.

  • Reality: He promised the Labour Party he would. ‘I will reintroduce the Western Extension of the congestion charge’ (Ken Livingstone Candidacy Manifesto, 2010, link).

 

Lie 3: Ken Livingstone said he would restore EMA.

  • Reality: Independent sources say he doesn’t have the money. Channel 4’s Factcheck have independently coasted this proposal at £55 million a year. Ken Livingstone says he would get colleges, universities and local authorities to pay for this pledge but, as Channel 4’s Factcheck found, he has no power to force them to fund it and many have already flatly refused to pay for it (Channel 4 News, Factcheck: could Ken save the EMA in London, 2 March 2012, link). £55 million a year is £220 million over a four-year term.

 

Lie 4: Ken Livingstone claimed current police numbers were only at 31,128.

  • Reality: Official Met data shows there will be more than 32,000 by April. According to the Met, there are 209 new officers coming on board in April, bringing the total officer numbers to 32,468 – well over a thousand above the number Boris Johnson inherited.

 

Lie 5: Ken Livingstone said his fares policy would cost £269m over four years.

  • Reality: His own campaign document says it would cost £269m in the first year alone. ‘Ken’s Fare Deal costs £269mn in the first year’ (Ken Livingstone Campaign, How Ken can afford to cut fares, March 2012, link). 

 

Lie 6: Ken Livingstone said the days lost to strikes under his mayoralty decreased by 98%; “In the 8 years that I was mayor the number of days, shifts lost by strikes was cut by 98%”

  • Reality: There was no reduction in days of strikes. There were 2 days of strikes in 2001. There were 2 days of strikes in 2008. There was no reduction in the number of days of strikes (TfL Strike Data, 2000-2011).

 

Lie 7: Ken Livingstone claimed he paid income tax on everything he gets.

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone is a tax avoider. Ken Livingstone has vehemently attacked tax avoidance. He wrote in the Sun in 2009 about tax avoiders: ‘these rich bastards just don’t get it’ (The Sun, 12 Mach 2012, link). But while Mayor from 2000 – 2006, his income was paid into a shady private company:
    • Ken Livingstone owned a private business for most of his mayoralty. Ken Livingstone set up LocalAction Ltd in 1986, and did not dissolve it until 17 October 2006. It was open for six of the eight years he was mayor (Companies House website, accessed 8 March 2012).
    • Almost £221,000 was paid to Localaction in 21 months. He was paid £220,992 for speaking and other engagements between July 1998-February 2000, which was paid into his company Localaction (S&P Select Committee, Seventh Report Appendix, 8 March 2000, link).
    • He failed to declare this properly while an MP. John Jones MP lodged a formal complaint with the Standards and Privileges committee, which was upheld (S&P Select Committee, Seventh Report Appendix, 8 March 2000, link).
    • By paying himself through a company, he paid less tax. By paying money into a company, it came under corporation tax, 20 per cent in 2000, not the higher rate income tax, 40 per cent in 2000 (HMT archive, link).
    • He claimed this was only tax avoidance if he did not withdraw money. He denied tax avoidance because the money was taxed when it was paid to him from the company: ‘It is only a tax avoidance option provided you're not drawing the money out’ (Sunday Times, 23 January 2000).
    • In 2008, he set up a new company before he left office. Silveta Ltd was incorporated on 23 April 2008 (Daily Telegraph, 26 February 2012, link; Companies House website, accessed 8 March 2012, link).
    • Earnings of £320,000 have been paid into Silveta Ltd with almost nothing withdrawn. In 2009 and 2010 (only available years) he has drawn out barely any money from the company. By June 2010, the company had earned £320,000 (Daily Telegraph, 26 February 2012, link).
    • By his own definition, he is avoiding up tax. In 2000, he said: ‘It is only a tax avoidance option provided you're not drawing the money out’. Ken Livingstone has avoided around £50,000 tax (Daily Telegraph, 29 February 2012, link; Sunday Times, 23 January 2000). 

 

Lie 8: Ken Livingstone claimed that in his last year as Mayor 43% of housing built was affordable.

  • Reality: In his last year the proportion of affordable housing was just 33%. In the last report monitoring affordable housing builds before Ken Livingstone left office the proportion of completions which were affordable had fallen to 33 per cent (GLA, London Plan Annual Monitoring Report, 4, February 2008, p. 9, link) 

 

Lie 9: Ken Livingstone claimed there would be no increase in the congestion charge.

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone broke his promise before on this and will again. Ken Livingstone in 2003 promised that the Congestion Charge would not be increased for ten years (BBC News Online, 25 February 2003,link). However, just two years later in 2005 he increased it by 60 per cent, from £5 to £8 in 2005 (BBC News Online, 1 April 2005, link).
    • We know this because Ken Livingstone is in a pre-election pact with the Green Party, who want to increase congestion charging. Ken Livingstone and the Green Party Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones have formed a pre-election pact. They are both recommending to their members that they give their second preference votes to each other:
  • Ken Livingstone says Jenny Jones will be a ‘key part’ in his administration. Livingstone has said “...if I am elected, Jenny Jones will be a key part in my administration” (Mayor Watch Website, 24 March 2012, link).
  • Jenny Jones wants to introduce a new congestion charge. Jenny Jones let slip in an interview with LBC what the true impact of the Labour/Green pact on Londoners will be. When asked whether she would reintroduce the Western Extension, she said: ‘Oh no, we are absolutely not going to do that. We’ve got a much better scheme that we are going to bring in over the four years of the next Mayoralty. And that is a Pay As You Go for drivers, for car users, well for all vehicle users. And this can raise over £1 billion a year’ (LBC, Iain Dale Show, 15 February 2012).
  • She would raise the congestion to £40. Jenny Jones admitted on the Sunday Politics Show that she would only look to introduce the Pay As You Go scheme after the first three years of the Mayoralty. Up until then, she will look to raise the congestion charge to £15 for smaller cars and £40 for larger family cars (BBC TV, Sunday Politics Show, 1 April 2012).

 

Lie 10: Ken Livingstone claimed his expenses as mayor were ‘miniscule.’

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone claimed £66,000 on the City Hall credit card. This included £256 for a pair of shoes, more than £6,000 on alcohol, £6,404 on 1st class flights to Florida and £466 for dinner with a Cuban translator (Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time, 0761/2012 Appendix K, 22 February 2012, link; Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time – Written Answers, 1084/2012, 14 March 2012, link; Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time – Written Answers,  1085/2012, 14 March 2012, link; Mail on Sunday, 1 April 2012).

 

Lie 11: Ken Livingstone claimed he only had four lunches a year as mayor.

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone's corporate credit card receipts show that he had 47 lunches or dinners in his last four years as Mayor - almost an average of one a month (Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time, 0761/2012 Appendix K, 22 February 2012, link; Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time – Written Answers, 1084/2012, 14 March 2012, link; Mayor of London, Mayor’s Question Time – Written Answers,  1085/2012, 14 March 2012, link).

 

Lie 12: Ken Livingstone claimed TfL had a £830 million surplus.

  • Reality: Ken Livingstone keeps changing the amount of the ‘surplus’ he says will fund his fare cut. First he said the money could be funded from a £729 million surplus (Ken Livingstone Campaign, Fare Deal Factsheet, link). Then he said it could be funded by a surplus of £206 million (Ken Livingstone Campaign, Press Release, 5 December 2011, link). Then he said it would be funded with a surplus of £338 million (Ken Livingstone Campaign, Press Release, 2 February 2012, link). Now he says the surplus is £727 million (Ken Livingstone Campaign, How Ken can afford to cut fares, March 2012, link). Now on LBC on 3 April he said the surplus was £830 million (LBC Radio, 3 April 2012).
  • Independent factcheckers confirm Ken Livingstone’s plan will take more than £1 billion out of the transport budget.  Channel 4 Factcheck states: ‘TfL argues that if Mr Livingstone was to cut fares by 7 per cent, the move would reduce the income from fares by £1.12bn over this parliament’ (Channel 4, Factcheck Blog, 24 January 2012, link).

Categories: Campaign Updates | Tags: Ken livingstone, Lies

03 April 2012

The truth about tax

On today's LBC debate, Ken Livingstone repeated false claims first made by Ed Miliband that Boris used a "similar scheme" to that used by Ken Livingstone in order to avoid paying his fair share of tax.  After Miliband initially made the completely unfounded claim, Boris was asked by blogger Guido Fawkes for a response.  We've posted that response below to ensure voters are absolutely clear on the facts:

 

Dear Guido,

You have asked about my business affairs and tax arrangements. Specifically do I have any company or other arrangements constructed to enable me to pay less tax and do I, as has been claimed by the Labour Mayoral candidate and the Opposition Leader, have the same arrangements as Labour’s Mayoral candidate.

The answer is simple and unequivocal in both cases. No.

My salary as Mayor is taxed as an employee of the GLA. In the same way as when I was an MP my salary was taxed as an employee. Any other income that I have received from outside endeavours has been received on a self-employed basis, to me as an individual (no company or other structure has been involved). No income earned by me has ever been paid to a “service” company, through which a person or person’s freelance earnings can be channeled so that they pay corporation rather than income tax.

To suggest otherwise is a complete and utter fabrication.

Of course the real point is not about my tax arrangements. It is about the hypocrisy of a man who for years has railed against those who use special arrangements to reduce their tax and who has then been caught – bang to rights – doing the very same thing himself.

Boris Johnson

 

Categories: Campaign Updates | Tags: Boris johnson, Ken livingstone, Tax

02 April 2012

My Crime Manifesto

"Fighting Crime in London" - Boris Johnson's Crime Manifesto

Today I'm launching my crime manifesto and I wanted you to be one of the first to read it.

The first duty of the Mayor is to protect Londoners. 

When I was elected, I inherited a police force in need of strong leadership, where officers were tied to their desks by unnecessary paperwork. 27 teenagers had been murdered in 2007, but the response from City Hall was weak. Violent crime had increased, drug crime had more than doubled and public disorder offences on the tube had increased by 521%. 

I promised to work to turn things around. By bringing fresh leadership to the Metropolitan Police Service, working with all London’s boroughs, and Londoners whatever their background and politics, we have made a good start.

Comparing my term against that of my predecessor: There are 1,000 extra warranted officers on the London’s streets now than there were in May 2008. Total crime has been cut by 10.8%. Murders have decreased by 25.9%, with the lowest rate since 1978. Youth violence has decreased by 13.8%, with the number of youth murders almost halving. Over 11,000 knives have been taken off the streets. Robberies are down by 16.3%. And bus crime has fallen by 30% since I put 697 extra police on our tube and buses and introduced with a ban on alcohol on the Transport for London network.   

For all this hard work, last year’s riots show the full scale of the challenges we still face.

I will:

  • Work with the Commissioner to deliver a massive boost to Safer Neighbourhood Teams, with an additional 2,000 police, including adding up to three police officers, to every team. Each team will also get three Special Constables to further boost police presence in our neighbourhoods.
  • Maintain the extra 1,000 police officers I have put on the street.
  • Double the number of Special Constables to 10,000 and offer, for the first time in Greater London, a 50% rebate on the Mayor’s share of council tax to Special Constables.
  • Establish a Safer Neighbourhood Board in every borough giving local Londoners and victims a greater voice in setting policing priorities, with a £1million fund across London.
  • Lobby for legislation to allow me to introduce a direct entry scheme to the Met.
  • Give local people a direct say in Community Payback.
  • Establish a new Sentencing Unit for London with a focus on violence, especially knife crime.
  • Maintain funding for the extra police on the transport network which is at risk under Ken Livingstone’s plans to take £1.14bn out of the transport budget.
  • Double the size of the Met’s Status Dogs Unit and seek tougher sentences for those using dogs as weapons in Greater London.

And of course all of this is to be set against the backdrop of the biggest policing operation in living memory with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, alongside the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I will work closely with the Commissioner and his team to ensure we achieve the twin tasks of keeping the city safe and securing the 2012 Games.

We have made progress despite difficult times. At the Mayoral election on 3rd May this progress is at risk. The choice at this election is between taking London backwards, and my plan to ensure we have the resources to maintain the extra 1,000 police numbers I have put on the street, so that London is not just safer, but also feels safer. 

I hope I can count on your support on 3rd May.

Boris Johnson

PS: If you haven't already, please sign our Backers Map to show your support for what we've already achieved and what we plan to do in the next four years: www.backboris2012.com/#backing

Categories: Campaign Updates, crime, London, quality of life | Tags: Crime, Knives, Met, Police, Safer neighbourhood board, Special constables

30 March 2012

My Olympic legacy manifesto

By Boris Johnson"Value from the Olympics" - Boris Johnson's Olympics Manifesto

Today I'm launching my Olympics manifesto and I wanted you to be one of the first to read it.

This year the capital will experience a summer like no other.

London will become the first city in history to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games three times. It is also the first host city in history to finish building the Olympic stadium a year early – not just ahead of time, but under budget.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are about far more than just six weeks of amazing sport. I have worked to ensure they will lead to lasting economic, social and sporting benefits for London. I have ensured that these are the first Games where a host city has been building in the legacy from the beginning.

However, seven years ago we may have won the Games, but there was a real risk the opportunity they present would be squandered. Costs had quadrupled. There was no legacy plan. Taxpayers’ money was being wasted on unnecessary venues which would have become white elephants, while great venues across the capital were being under-utilised or ignored.

I have worked with the Olympic authorities to turn this around. I have co-chaired the Olympic Board, overseeing the entire project. I promised to keep costs low, and the Games will not cost London council taxpayers a penny more than pledged. I scrapped unnecessary new venues and used existing venues across the capital, saving tens of millions of pounds and ensuring all parts of London feel part of the Games. I put in place a credible legacy plan, creating thousands of jobs, ensuring a major economic boost to the capital.

I will go further:

  • I will guarantee that the Olympic Legacy does not cost Londoners a penny more on their council tax.
  • I will also ensure absolute transparency as the legacy plans transfer to the Mayor, requiring all expenditure to be published so Londoners know how money is being spent.
  • I will make sure that after the closing ceremony all Londoners continue to benefit from the hard work and investment of the last four years. That is why, using new powers secured from the Government, I have set up a new Mayoral Development Corporation to take responsibility for the Olympic Park. This will reduce the number of bodies involved, bringing focus and safeguarding the economic legacy of the Games by implementing our detailed plans to build 11,000 new homes and create 10,000 new jobs.
  • I will use my good strong relations with the businesses community to make use the Games venues with strong interest in taking on some of the venues, including the Olympic Stadium.
  • And I will explore creating a new science institute in the Olympic Park, to boost London’s hi-tech economy, including lobbying for the proposed Cell Therapy Technology and Innovation Centre to be located there.

We have made progress despite difficult times. At the Mayoral election on 3rd May this progress is at risk. The choice at this election is between a plan to ensure a true Olympic legacy that keeps costs low and putting the legacy at risk by cutting investment and damaging the city's international reputation.

Categories: Campaign Updates, economy, housing, jobs and skills, London, Olympics, sport | Tags: Legacy, London 2012, Olympics, Paralympics

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