Thursday, 7 February 2013

Alternative London budget proposed to lower fares, save fire stations and reduce pollution

Green London Assembly member Darren Johnson has published an amendment to be tabled at the London Assembly meeting on Friday 8th February, which is discussing the Mayor’s draft budget.

The amendment has three principal objectives:

- to help low income Londoners by holding down fares and supporting them to find decent homes let by accredited landlords

- to protect Londoners from damaging and unnecessary cuts to fire stations, fire engines and firefighters whilst raising council tax below the rate of inflation

- to improve Londoners’ quality of life, for example by investing in measures to make London’s streets safer, healthier and less congested

The Green amendment puts public safety and lower fares before gimmicks like council tax cuts and the New Bus for London. Households would pay an extra £10 a year due to a 2% council tax rise to save fire stations threatened by cuts, and households would save £60 a year from cheaper transport fares. This would also tackle longstanding problems ignored by the Mayor, such as central London’s serious air pollution problem.

Highlights include:

- On cost of living – freeze bus fares and hold train and tube fares down to inflation, more than offsetting a below-inflation rise in council tax

- On housing – set-up an ethical lettings agency to help tenants find decent landlords with decent homes, avoiding rip-off agents

- On the fire brigade – stop plans to close 12 fire stations, sell of 18 fire engines and lose 520 firefighters

- On the police service – get more frontline policing for our money by using more civilian staff and PCSOs and dropping the obsession with police officer numbers

- On our streets – spend 2% of TfL’s budget to make the 2% of journeys by bike safer and more pleasant with Dutch-style infrastructure

- On health – clean up central London’s polluted roads with a very low emission zone, a fund to help taxi drivers upgrade, and practical help for suffering schools

- On the environment – a revolving fund to help small and medium sized businesses make their premises more energy and water efficient

You can read the full Green amendment on the GLA web site to find out how these proposals are funded here

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