Len Duvall AM released a report looking at the role participatory budgets could have in London to increase engagement with the budget-making process at the GLA.
Your money, your say: A Participatory Budget for London
Why the need for a participatory budget in London?
Every year, the Mayor of London sets out a budget. This funds the capital’s police and fire services; transport system; major regeneration projects; and vital affordable housing and environmental projects led by City Hall. Yet debates about how funding should be allocated, frequently take place after the budget has been set. This is often too late in the day to influence any real change.
Furthermore, trust in politics, politicians, and public institutions is declining across the world. Yet participatory budgets, where a small percentage of funding is allocated to citizens to vote on where they would like to spend it, have been proven to increase political literacy and participation, as well as overall trust and satisfaction in local government.
This report aims to start a debate about how we can encourage Londoners to become more engaged in the decisions made within this institution that impacts on their daily lives. Despite the level of decision-making that the Greater London Authority (GLA) has for over eight million Londoners, the 2017/18 budget only received twelve responses.
A participatory budget could go a huge way to not only expanding these numbers but also increasing the diversity of people behind them and increasing the representation of Londoners if they feel more engaged with the process.
The report recommends that:
- The Mayor should begin a participatory budget system in London
- The Talk London website could be improved to provide a digital platform for a participatory budget
- The Mayor to launch a widespread campaign to encourage Londoners from all backgrounds to engage in London’s participatory budget.