Mayor condemns Government for ‘most anti-London Budget in a generation

22 November 2017
  • Sadiq delivers stinging rebuke to Government for hammering London
  • Chancellor fails to mention policing or counter-terrorism in year that saw five terrorist attacks across Britain
  • No new police funding puts safety at risk – and forces Mayor to drop London’s strategic target of 32,000 police officers
  • Lack of meaningful action on housing shows Government is all talk and no action
  • Inadequate help for London to clean up toxic air pollution

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today condemned the Government for delivering the most anti-London Budget in a generation as he warned that ‘hammering London will not encourage growth elsewhere in the UK’.

Sadiq warned ahead of today’s Budget that it came at a critical point for securing London’s future prosperity. With the Brexit negotiations in chaos, and the economic impact of the current uncertainty being felt across the city, today was a chance for the Chancellor to reaffirm his commitment to London through a major programme of investment – a chance Philip Hammond totally failed to take.

Sadiq hit out at Philip Hammond for failing to deliver the measures the capital desperately needs to fix the housing crisis, keep Londoners safe, tackle toxic air pollution and invest in future infrastructure.

In fact, the Chancellor failed to even mention counter-terrorism, policing and security in a year when London has been victim to four terrorist attacks, crime is on the rise across the UK and there has been a spike in violent crime.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is the most anti-London Budget in a generation, from a Government that has shown contempt for Londoners. Hammering London in this way will not encourage growth elsewhere in the UK.

“Londoners know that I have put aside party politics over the past 18 months and worked hard to get a good deal for the capital from the Government – but today the Government have thrown that work back in our face.

“The Government refused to back the Metropolitan Police today – and the Chancellor didn’t even mention counter-terrorism. It is sadly now inevitable that police officer numbers will continue to fall  – potentially to as few as 27,500 by 2021 - and we are left with no choice but to scrap London’s strategic target for 32,000 police officers that has been in place since 2012.

“The Government’s most astonishing failure today is on housing - today’s measures will not even paper over the cracks. The Chancellor did not announce a penny of extra grant for affordable housing in London – even though we know the current spending is less than a fifth of what we need. Everyone knows we need councils to be able to build more, but there was no commitment that any councils in London will be given the powers to do so. This Government is all talk and no action on housing.

“The measures announced to clean up our polluted air are totally inadequate – and no action to introduce a desperately needed diesel scrappage fund. The Government today committed just £220m for a national pot to improve air quality while the capital alone requires £515m just for a vehicle scrappage fund. It is a kick in the teeth of Londoners who deserve the right to breathe clean air and are encouraged by the Government to buy more polluting vehicles.”

The Mayor is particularly critical of today’s Budget in the following crucial policy areas:

Funding the Metropolitan Police – The Met has delivered significant savings of more than £600 million since 2010 and a further £400 million of savings now has to be found over the next four years.

Of this £400 million additional savings the Met has identified roughly £200 million, which has already meant extremely difficult decisions including closing almost 40 police station front counters and reducing the number of buildings across the police estate. Since 2010, more than 110 police station and front counters have had to be closed down, more than 170 police buildings sold off, more than 65 per cent of Police Community Support Officers cut and more than 30 per cent police staff posts lost.

Sadiq has already made it clear that the Government’s failure to address this funding crisis today will mean that police officer numbers will now begin to fall – potentially to as few as 27,500 by 2021 - the lowest level in 19 years. And therefore, he has no choice but to drop London’s strategic target for 32,000 police officers.

Housing – London needs to build 66,000 homes every year in order to meet the needs of its growing population. 

Last November, Sadiq secured a £3.15bn deal with the government to start building 90,000 genuinely affordable homes by 2021 - around £0.5bn a year. City Hall modelling suggests a requirement for Government to increase funding for affordable housing alone in London to around £2.7bn a year – more than five times current spending levels. Despite this there was no increase in spending on affordable housing grants for London in the Budget. The Budget failed to offer a long-term commitment to increasing funding to the levels needed and did not offer the capital any significant new powers to get building.

Infrastructure - The Mayor welcomes support today for Crossrail 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Midlands Hub. However, while the Chancellor committed £1.7bn for new infrastructure, there was no guarantee that London would receive a share of this. He said 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.

Air Quality - Sadiq is doing everything possible within his powers to improve London’s dangerously polluted air. Just last month, he launched the T-Charge, the world’s toughest emission standard, to get the get older more polluting cars off the roads. However, he desperately needs more help from the Government.

Today was an opportunity missed for the Budget to provide sufficient funding to help local authorities to take action on air quality and mitigate the impacts on businesses, residents and drivers. The Government needs to urgently bring forward proposals for a diesel scrappage fund to help ordinary people and businesses have the cleanest vehicles possible.

Crossrail 2 – The Mayor has cautiously welcomed the “warm words” of support for Crossrail 2 today but urges the Government to progress delivery of the scheme which is essential for the future prosperity of London and the south east.