Boris ignores call to drop frontline fire cuts

The London Assembly required a two-thirds majority to amend the Mayor’s budget. At the first meeting the three opposition groups passed a “˜Technical Amendment’ which forced Boris to review freezing the council tax precept, rather than cutting it by one penny a day for an average household. This would raise £9.6 million, which could be used to keep all of London’s fire stations open and maintain police front counter provision across London.

This would have:

  • Kept Westminster and Knightsbridge fire stations open

  • Helped 135 Westminster residents and 100 Hounslow residents under 24 and out of work for more than a year into work through Labour’s Jobs Guarantee. This scheme would give 21 hours per week of work experience, paid at the London Living Wage for six months.

  • Saved West London residents, travelling from Zone 4 to Zone 1, £282.74 a year by cutting transport fares by 1% so they are in line with inflation

Labour London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi said:

“It is clear that the Mayor of London’s cuts are too far and too fast. Boris had a clear choice between cutting council tax by one pence a day, or freezing it and using the money to keep fire stations such as Westminster and Knightsbridge open. But Boris chose to carry on with his foolish plan to axe 12 fire stations and 18 fire engines. 

“Boris is needlessly jeopardising the safety and security of Londoners. We presented the Mayor with a fully costed plan which keeps much needed front line services but he wants to continue with his ill-thought out proposals.

“Boris has cut his share of the council tax by one pence a day per household, but at the same time has whacked up fares above inflation for the fifth year running. If he had taken on our budget proposal to cut transport fares by one per cent he could have saved residents in Zone 4 and travelling to Zone 1 £282.74 over the course of a year. It’s time for Boris to get serious and stand up for Londoners instead of campaigning for tax cuts for millionaires.”

Ends

Notes

1.    Murad Qureshi is a London wide Assembly Member.

2.    The cross-party amendment can be found here: http://cityhalllabour.org/cross-party-budget-change-forces-boris-to-ditch-frontline-999-cuts/

3.    The Budget meeting took place at City Hall on Monday 25th February 2013. You can watch the meeting here: www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/the-london-assembly/webcasts

For more information please contact Press and Research Officer Sophie Kimber, on 020 7983 5639. Number not for publication.