Relationship with the Boroughs (Supplementary) [9]

Session date: 
June 18, 2008
Question By: 
John Biggs
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


The question is: we are not elected as politicians to skip around in circles and love each other; we are elected to solve difficult problems. You gave an anecdote about Croydon. A similar anecdote might be about Bazalgette and the 30 years or so it took before a municipal authority was able to impose a sewerage system on London which resolved the 'great stink' as it was called. It was a massive public health problem; people died of typhoid and cholera. Finally people got their act together and realised you needed to have a strategic intervention. There are going to be issues where you are going to need to beat up boroughs - including Conservative boroughs - and that is your rightful role. I would like you to confirm that and identify that your reserve powers on the concessionary fares scheme might be an example where you would need to beat people up if they get carried away with themselves and sabotage a hard fought privilege for all retired Londoners.


Answer for Relationship with the Boroughs (Supplementary) [9]

Answer for Relationship with the Boroughs (Supplementary) [9]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

John, you are completely right. You are right about the Bazalgette sewers. There are times when London does need a central authority that will actually impose its view about what is best for Londoners on the 32 boroughs. I do accept what you are saying.

All I am saying is we are going to be judged on outcomes and on achievements, a point I have been trying to make throughout this meeting. We can achieve more if we appreciate that there are people in the boroughs who have a great deal of talent and knowledge and they understand their area. If we work with them, indeed if we go around and have meetings in the boroughs, as I propose to do, about our agenda, we will actually get more done. If we want to deliver a bike hire scheme in London we are going to have to be very, very persuasive and work very hard. We will do it but I think we can achieve more by persuasion and hard work than by beating people up as you put it.