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