The Budget: what does it mean for London?
Mayor Sadiq Khan has described the Government’s spending announcement as a major missed opportunity, calling it the “most anti-London Budget in a generation” that fails to deliver to London the crucial investment it needs.
Here’s why the Budget fails to live up:
Police funding. In a year when London has suffered four terrorist attacks and crime is rising nationally, the Chancellor’s statement did not mention counter-terrorism, policing or security. With the Met’s funding cut by £600 million over the past seven years, the lack of extra cash in today’s Budget leaves the Mayor no choice but to give up London’s strategic target OF 32,000 police officers. Because of the government cuts to funding, police numbers could drop to as few as 27,500 by 2021, he said, a 19-year low.
Affordable homes. In what the Mayor called an “astonishing failure”, the Budget included no extra grant for affordable housing in London - which needs to build 66,000 homes a year just to meet the needs of its growing population. While Sadiq has secured £0.5 billion a year from the Government for affordable housing until 2021, City Hall numbers suggest London needs far more than that - around £2.7 billion a year.
Infrastructure. The Chancellor mentioned the ongoing discussions with TfL over Crossrail 2 funding in the Budget- a vital project for London. However, he failed to say whether London would receive a share of the £1.7 billion he allocated for new infrastructure in cities, saying instead that half the money would be split between England’s six other regional and city-wide Mayors, with the remainder to be allocated following a bidding process. The National Infrastructure Commission said in October chronic capacity issues - especially in major cities - would lead growth to fall across the UK without an urgent plan to meet future challenges.
Air quality. Today’s Budget outlined a £220 million national pot to improve air quality - but this falls far short of what London needs to take action on its dangerously polluted air. The Chancellor also failed to bring forward proposals for a diesel scrappage fund to help support drivers replace their old dirtier diesels for the cleanest vehicles possible. Sadiq is doing everything in his power to clean up London’s toxic air - including launching the T-Charge, the world’s toughest emission standard to help take older, more polluting cars off the roads, and investing heavily in cleaner buses but requires Government action to tackle the crisis fully.
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