More questions than answers in Sadiq’s first budget
The first draft Budget of Mayor Sadiq Khan is worryingly opaque, according to the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee in the ‘Response to the Mayor’s draft consultation budget 2017-18’
The budget has been criticised for its distinct lack of transparency and its apparent attempts to hide cuts.
On 25 January, the whole Assembly will debate the proposals before the budget is finalised in March, however a number of issues have been highlighted by the Committee, that need to be addressed before that happens.
There are concerns about a lack of clarity surrounding the budgets for the Metropolitan Police (Met), Transport for London (TfL) and the Old Oak Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC). The report says the Mayor should:
- Clearly set out what cuts or changes have been made to investment in London’s transport network.
- Set out plans for TfL to make £800 million of annual efficiency saving by 2020-21.
- Investigate the terms of West Ham United Football Club’s lease for the London Stadium
- Reveal when key environmental milestones will be published along with dates for achieving them, such as making London a zero-carbon city by 2050.
- Secure vital Home Office funding for Lord Harris’ recommendations to improve London’s preparedness to respond to a major terrorist incident.
- Address the inconsistent manner in which the GLA Group’s plans for savings and efficiencies are presented.
Gareth Bacon AM, Chairman of the Budget and Performance Committee said:
“The Mayor, throughout the budget process, has shown a worrying lack of transparency with his refusal to publish the initial budget submissions.
We have uncovered proposals to reduce funding to the OPDC – at the site of the UK’s largest regeneration project -by 40 per cent. We also suspect the Mayor is reducing investment in the transport network, perhaps by £615 million. The Metropolitan Line Extension, for example, has disappeared from TfL’s business plan.
We need much more information on the Mayor’s plans so we can properly scrutinise and vote on these budget proposals.”
Notes to editors
- The ‘Response to the Mayor’s draft consultation budget 2017-18’ is attached.
- The Committee questioned representatives from Transport for London and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority at its meeting on 4 January 2017, and from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the Metropolitan Police Service, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation at its meeting on 5 January 2017 to discuss the 2017-18 budget.
- The Committee produced a formal response to the Mayor’s draft budget on 19 December 2016. This response to the Mayor’s consultation budget informs the full Assembly’s debate and vote on the Mayor's proposals in February. The Assembly has the power to amend the total budget requirement for each functional body if a two-thirds majority agree to do so. The Mayor then publishes his Final Budget before the start of the financial year in April.
- Gareth Bacon AM, Chairman of the Budget and Performance Committee is available for interview. See contact details below.
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
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