Value for Money (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
May 22, 2002
Question By: 
Eric Ollerenshaw
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Well, go down those streets at the moment, where TfL is desperately trying to spend its underspend as rapidly as possible and is digging up every part of London and actually creating the congestion that you say you have solved. To make London a safer city go out and talk to people about street crime and whether the figure is coming down by 2% or whatever. But, in fact, people are dealing with real problems here. To strengthen London's economy - we're already having predictions of a slowdown. Regenerate deprived areas - where's that happening? Promote the case for London - well, you've failed on that, haven't you? You're accepting your own figures. The government's still taking more and more money away. Lead the urban renaissance of London - well, that's very been good for glaziers, but very little help in terms of what's happening out there. Improve London's environment - ask your friends, if they're still friends of yours. And celebrate London's cultural diversity - well, we've certainly had a lot of celebrations.

So the question is, is this just an amateurish outfit that you've gathered around you of people who are now demanding higher wages from you to create exactly what for Londoners? It is a serious question - because of all of us here have accepted there is a case for a London operation, but the way you've handled it in terms of your wars with government, in terms of the staff you've got around you, in terms of priorities you've set, have simply undermined the case to actually get more power for it.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Value for Money (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Value for Money (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I don't actually think if there's an economic slowdown, that it can be laid at the door of myself or the GLA in total; it might be global economic consequences. Although there was a slowdown last summer that slowdown is now bottoming out and my economic advice is that that turndown in the economy should be coming to an end at the end of the year. The increase in unemployment has dropped by about half over the last six months.

On the question of crime; yes, there was a huge increase and if you actually get the monthly street crime figures, which I got last night from my meeting with the Home Secretary, yes, there was a dramatic jump immediately after 11 September because criminals are bright people. If they see police forces drawn away to police likely terrorist targets they move in and exploit that. The good news is the latest figures show we are back to the sort of levels we had before 11 September. Still too high, but they will be borne down on by the 1,000 extra police and there are more police to come. I point this out. Before we had a Mayor, police numbers in London had been cut from 28,000 to 25,500. I promised to get them back to 28,000 within four years. We'll get there in three.

I'm now in discussions with Toby and with the Commissioner about what should be the target for London. The Commissioner believes 35,000 police would allow him to reclaim the streets of London and it would be my determination, having achieved perhaps a net increase in policing of 1,500 a year, we should push ahead for four more years to get that 35,000.