Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Let me just begin by saying that since we last met we are making fast progress, I am pleased to say, on the taskforces to help the regeneration in Tottenham and Croydon, working hand in glove with the local authorities, I am pleased to say, Sir Stuart Lipton is joining the Tottenham Taskforce; Julian Metcalfe who was the entrepreneur behind Pret A Manager and Itsu is helping with Croydon. The objective here is to help to set out plans to improve transport infrastructure, to buy up and rebuild properties that were damaged and to help fund business rate relief and generally to set out a plan for the regeneration of both those areas. I am very pleased by some of the progress that is being made.
In Manchester I made a speech in which I made a couple of points that are of relevance and that I think the Assembly wish to ask me about. The first was that it is our intention to look at another 25 leadership academies in secondary schools across London. I am much attracted to the discipline, the self-confidence that young people get from such leadership academies and we are looking to see if we can help expand those in secondary schools in other parts of London.
I also spoke about police numbers and I said that it was my strong view that we should not allow police numbers in London to fall below a level which I think is safe or acceptable for a great city in the run up to the Olympics and beyond. I made that point very clear. I think London faces particular pressures from the Olympics, from public order, the maintenance of public order and I believe that numbers are an important element in maintain confidence and in keeping the fight going against crime. There is no doubt at all that the police have been very successful over the last few years, crime down about 9% over the period of the Mayoralty. They are down very substantially in some areas in particular. We are pleased with that; we want to continue the fight against crime. It is an absolute prerequisite for a great city that it should be a safe city.
Quite rightly you have asked me about decision over the last couple of days in relation to the stadium. Let me just say there that what we are doing is ending the faffing around that was going on because of a great number of legal anxieties that had crept into the decision to go with West Ham. We will now go to, I think, a very sensible solution from the point of view of the taxpayer and the public purse in that we keep the stadium as an asset within the Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC). We work with Newham and we make sure that we get good value from whichever football team it may be that comes forward to rent it. I note that already at least a couple are showing interest and we will, thereby, deliver not just a football legacy from the stadium, which I think was always a great thing to achieve, but also an athletics legacy as well.
Finally, on the cable car I am very please to confirm what Members will have seen, which is that we have secured a very substantial sponsorship deal for the cable car of £36 million, which will enable this project to go ahead, either at no expense to the public purse, which is still I think possible, or at very little expense to the public purse. I think that is it. That is a considerable achievement. I know how strong the support for the cable car was amongst Labour members, although they did not offer any means of funding it themselves. I notice that they always deprecate any kind of private involvement. They would not have got a penny from the private sector themselves. I note their support for it. I note, by the way, I seem to remember that some of my Labour friends over there on my right actually pledged to vote for me in the event that the cable car was built. Do you remember that? I remember, so I not only look forward to delivering the cable car with either no or very little public support, I think an extraordinary achievement in these circumstances, and I look forward very much to receiving the votes of the Labour Members. I think the record will relate, Jennette, that there was a pledge made in this place by the Member concerned and look forward to him making good on that pledge.