Opinion: Mayor says one thing and does the other
PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 February 2020
Last week the London Assembly examined Sadiq Khan’s final budget as Mayor of London. As we all know, London is currently facing massive challenges, none more concerning than the inexorable growth in violent crime which this Mayor has presided over. This budget provided the perfect chance for the Mayor to prove he is true to his word when he says he is putting Londoners’ safety and security above all else.
Sadly, the Mayor once again demonstrated that he says one thing and does another. We got yet another Khan budget composed of wasteful spending at City Hall with more bureaucrats and funds spent promoting himself.
My colleagues and I have set out an alternative budget which would cut this waste, for example by returning the City Hall staff budget back to pre-Khan levels, saving £23.5 million and by withdrawing the £13.1 million which the GLA spends on the Mayor's 'official promotional agency', London & Partners.
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We proposed that these savings should fund a brand new £104 million Violent Crime Emergency Fund which would be 20 times the size of the Mayor's core contribution to the Violence Reduction Unit and could be used to put an additional 1598 police officers on the streets.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, that the other political parties here opposed this. The Mayor himself will have the opportunity to adopt our plan over the coming weeks.
By wholeheartedly adopting our plan, the Mayor could prove all those who say he is more interested in press officers than police officers wrong. This really is Sadiq Khan's last chance to finally show that he can be a Mayor for all Londoners.
Khan's mayoralty up to this point can be characterised by complacency in the face of surging crime rates. It is becoming clearer by the day that London desperately needs a new Mayor. We need change with Shaun Bailey in City Hall.