Mayor's Oral Update

MQT on 2015-03-25
Session date: 
March 25, 2015
Question By: 
Roger Evans
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Item 4 - Report of the Mayor


Answer for Mayor's Oral Update

Answer for Mayor's Oral Update

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I would like to begin, if I may, by echoing very strongly the fine sentiments that have just been expressed both by Kit [Kit Malthouse AM] and by Len [Len Duvall AM] in memorial of Catherine Crawford [former Chief Executive, Metropolitan Police Authority].  She served London and London policing with very great distinction.  I shall certainly explore with you, Roger, and with the Assembly the possibilities of a Catherine Crawford memorial lecture of the kind that Len has raised.

I also want to announce today that I am delighted to say that in the wake of Victoria’s [Victoria Borwick AM] selection [as a Parliamentary candidate] to stand in the Kensington seat, she will of course be stepping down as statutory Deputy Mayor.  You will be pleased to know, dear gentle Members of the Assembly, that we are going to have a new statutory Deputy Mayor in the form of the Chairman, Roger Evans, who has accepted my offer to undertake that work.  You will agree he is a fine servant of London.  I wish to place on record my deep thanks to Victoria for all the hard work that she has done.  She has done a wonderful job for us and I know that she will be looking forward to passing on the torch to Roger. That will take place on Wednesday, 13 May.  Your first moment as the statutory Deputy Mayor will be 14 May.

Since we last met, Members of the Assembly, there are a few things I wish to draw to your attention very quickly.  We have a big announcement of 2,000 new homes on the Parcelforce site in West Ham.  There is a huge development going on there.  Of the 700 hectares of public land that we took over four years ago, 90% of it is now in development or on the point of development.

We announced a £30 million fund to help the homeless in our city and to supply new hostels and refurbish some of the hostels that are in poor condition.

The police numbers, as you will have seen, are back up at virtually 32,000 or 31,955.  We have more women and more black and minority ethnic candidates now joining the police that at any time in the past.  That is great news and is a vindication of the strategy pursued by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe [Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis].  Concomitant with that, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is achieving fantastic falls in crime with a 20% reduction now in the seven crucial neighbourhood crime types that we tasked them with pursuing.  That has been achieved basically a year ahead of schedule.  That is a considerable achievement and I would like to pay tribute to the men and women of the MPS.

We have delivered 85,000 new affordable homes - more than that - since this mayoralty began and you will have seen the announcements we have made about various housing zones across the city.

I thought that the Budget and the Long Term Economic Plan all contained good news for our city: skills co-commissioning, finally - London working with the boroughs to do more to target skills funding at the right outcomes for our young people; the London Land Commission to get more public land developed; the Croydon Growth Zone and £7 million for Croydon; Brent Cross and Cricklewood and £97 million towards the establishment of a new station there; the Croxley Rail Link; and various other investments in our city, not least £30 million more for the Francis Crick Institute.

You have asked about the civil unrest on Wood Green High Street - and the Labour Group wants to know whether there were any implications - and an attack on a synagogue.  Both are absolutely sickening events.  There is no connection between them and certainly no implication for resources as far as we can see in the sense that Haringey’s Safer Neighbourhood complement has risen.  There is an increase of 97.  The police were able to attend both incidents very rapidly and obviously we can never been complacent but several arrests have so far been made certainly in connection with the attack on the synagogue, which was, as I say, a nauseating event.

The Labour Group has also asked about what discussions we have had over extending right-to-buy to housing association tenants.  I am not quite sure whether the question refers to forthcoming Conservative Party manifesto announcements or to Government discussions.  What I can say is that obviously we are discussing all measures that we can support to help people on every type of income in London to get a share of the value of their property.  I would remind you that we have had big success so far with the First Steps scheme and we have helped about 48,000 people on the First Steps scheme.  We intend to help 250,000 more.

That, Roger, concludes my report.