Mayor hopeful Ken tells Havering ‘I’ll cut the cost of travel’

Heading off the impending hike in public transport prices, Ken Livingstone says will be his ticket to mayoral success next year.

‘Red’ Ken made an all-day visit to Havering today (Monday) in his bid to seize power from Mayor Boris Johnson in the City Hall elections next year.

The controversial decision to increase rail and bus fares by seven per-cent, well above inflation, was the big issue.

Ken told the Recorder that he will cut public transport costs by five per cent by October 2012, freeze them throughout 2013, and after which he will sanction a rise only in line with inflation.

“The average family will save around �800 a year,” he said, “it’s more money for them to spend on what they want, which also helps the economy.”

Ken’s other pledges include:

- Building 50,000 new homes in brownfield (previously developed) land in London to counteract the affordable housing crisis facing today’s youth.

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“People in Havering, their children and grandchildren simply can’t afford to buy their own homes; this is something that needs to be priority,” he said.

- Revive plans to extend the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), from east London into Rainham.

“I would reinvest in the plans with immediate effect,” he said. “We have got to invest if we want to restart the economy. There is money to be made all along the Thames gateway.

“And public transport is overcrowded and we need to increase the infrastructure.”

- Reinstate the 1,800 axed London bobbies back onto the streets.

“Cuts to police are something most people in Havering are against, and I would return the frontline staff back to the existing level,” he promised.

Ken, alongside his deputy running mate Val Shawcross, met residents at Elm Park, Harold Hill and Romford, in the all-day borough tour – the 22nd of his 32 ‘Tell Ken’ visits to every London borough this year.

The Labour hopeful also met students from Havering Sixth Form College, in Wingletye lane, Hornchurch.

Talking of his reception in Havering - a traditionally blue borough - Ken said it was “brilliant”

“People are really unhappy,” he added. “They are being screwed by the government, and they have been screwed by the mayor ever since he came into office. I think I have a good chance of beating Boris.”

Ken is also due to lead a public meeting in the Wykeham Centre, in Romford Marketplace, Romford, from 7pm this evening.