Mayor's Oral Report

MQT on 2015-05-21
Session date: 
May 21, 2015
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  The Mayor will now provide an oral update of up to five minutes on matters occurring since the publication of his report.


Answer for Mayor's Oral Report

Answer for Mayor's Oral Report

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thank you very much, Jennette, and I want to congratulate you on your re-ascension to power in the Assembly as Chair of the Assembly.  I want to thank Roger [Roger Evans AM, Chairman of the London Assembly 2014-15] very much for his tenure, which he discharged very well indeed, and also to thank him for assuming the job of statutory Deputy Mayor.

Members of the Assembly, since we last met, there has been a general election and I want particularly to congratulate Victoria [Victoria Borwick AM MP] and James [James Cleverly AM MP] and Kit [Kit Malthouse AM MP] for securing their seats and commiserations to Andrew [Andrew Dismore AM].  Anybody who has fought an election knows how tough it is to be on the losing side and I am sure you will come back one day and serve well in this place nonetheless.

Can I just say a little bit about London going forward over the next year or so.  We have a huge amount to do, as I am sure everybody knows.  I want to single out some of the things we are going to do in the next year.  We are going to start a programme for 400,000 new homes on the 38 opportunity areas.  We are securing and delivering three new river crossings, as you all know, as well as a Garden Bridge.  We are creating and delivering more pocket parks to reach the 100 that was promised in the original manifesto.  We aim to increase massively the number of Londoners who are paid the London Living Wage.  We are going to regenerate parts of London that have not yet benefited from the current boom, including Old Oak Common and Park Royal and many, many other areas.

We are getting on with extending the Bakerloo line to southeast London.  We are launching a Night Tube service for the first time in the history of this city in September this year.  Transport for London (TfL) is taking over the West Anglia line.  We will continue with the very popular cycling revolution and investing in cycling across the city.  We will shortly complete the final batch of 100,000 affordable homes.  Just in the next 100 days, we will complete Crossrail, we will finish the Thameslink project, we will improve a third of the junctions on the M25 and we will bring forward plans - as I say - for the Bakerloo line extension.  We will start construction of the Northern line extension to Battersea, complete the business case for Crossrail 2, draw up a bill to recruit 250,000 new apprentices by the end of this Parliament and many, many other ventures; not least maximising the legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games by establishing an Olympicopolis on the site in east London and rezoning the three Stratford stations to Zones 2 to 3 from 2016.  We will keep crime coming down and we will keep police numbers high, at or around - as I have always said - 32,000 people.  We will ensure that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continues to look like the city it serves.

Over the last five years, there has been huge progress in London.  I would just remind you of the key issues on which this election was fought.  It was about the success of this city and delivering another 530,000 jobs, getting unemployment down by 47% and youth unemployment down by 59%, 215,000 more businesses, 200,000 more apprenticeships and an income tax for 3.6 million people saving £825 a year, typically.

However, everybody understands that that economic success has to be harnessed and yoked for the good of the entire community and must deliver improvements in the quality of life for absolutely everybody in London.  I am very pleased that one of the first things the new Government will do in the Queen’s Speech is to ensure that no-one working 30 hours on the minimum wage pays any income tax at all.  That will be the start of tax cuts that will benefit 3.8 million people across our city and people on low and moderate incomes.  That is the way forward for our city.  It is about harnessing the locomotive - if you can harness a locomotive - and linking the wagons of the economy to the great locomotive of London and taking this country forward.

I have received one particular question from Jenny [Jenny Jones AM] about the tragic accident involving a lorry driver.  I want to offer my deep condolences to the family and friends of Alan Neve, who died.  Jenny, the difficulty is I cannot comment on why the MPS or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have made the individual decisions that they have in that case, although I understand people’s deep feelings of anxiety and outrage.  What I can propose and what I will offer is that the MPS contacts you directly for a briefing about that, although clearly the intention and our ambition is to make cycling ever safer.  That is the purpose of our current investments.

That concludes my update, except to say that also in the course of the next few days in Parliament we will be seeking further powers over the private hire trade in London and over unsafe pedicabs, which may be of some interest to people in the audience.  Members of the Assembly will know that there are currently about 8,600 buses in London.  There are about 26,000 black taxis.  The number of minicabs is growing by around 1,000 a month.  It has gone up about 18% just in the last 18 months.  There are currently now 78,690 minicab drivers in London.  They are posing a serious congestion risk and indeed causing congestion in many locations in the city.  TfL needs to have the power to restrict licences by quantity and we will be going forward with that.  That concludes my report.