Mayor of London’s spending budget given green light


Sadiq Khan’s spending plans for the coming year have got the green light from the London Assembly – despite most members voting against them.

The Mayor’s strategy includes more cash for police and youth services, money to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone and to build more affordable homes.

To boost City Hall funds he will raise council tax by almost £12 a year for Band D tax payers – the maximum hike under current government rules.

But Mr Khan was criticised for failing to tackle violent crime, or adequately address the climate crisis.

A total of 13 of the 23 assembly members attending today’s budget vote opposed his plans.

But unless two thirds of assembly members are against the budget, it passes by default.

Conservative group leader Susan Hall said the Mayor should stop spending on the “bloated” City Hall payroll, and “excessive” TfL staff perks.

She said: “Perhaps the Mayor can explain to families who’ve lost loved ones why these things mattered more to him than tackling the violent crime emergency.”

The Conservatives called on the Mayor to scrap PR funding and culture spending, and earmark an extra £100million to tackle violence and recruit almost 1,600 more police.

Ms Hall said: “If keeping Londoners really is the Mayor’s top priority, as he’s so often said, he should put his money where his mouth is.”

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Green and Liberal Democrat members also rejected the budget, raising concerns about the Mayor’s climate policies. 

The Greens said the Mayor should triple his £50m Green New Deal fund, and do more to make London carbon neutral by 2030.

They also called on Mr Khan to scrap controversial plans for Silvertown tunnel, a road crossing under the Thames in east London.

And Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon said she would not vote for the budget – despite supporting many of its policies – because of the Mayor’s “staunch commitment” to Silvertown.

With concerns from all opposition parties, it was only the 10 Labour assembly members attending the meeting who backed Mr Khan’s budget.

Labour group leader Len Duvall said Conservative opposition to the budget revealed the party’s “ideological desire to cut and reduce” state spending.

He said: “The members opposite have not designed a budget for Londoners, they’ve designed a budget for the Conservative mayoral campaign.”

But all other members – Conservatives, Brexit Alliance, Greens and Liberal Democrats – voted against the Mayor’s plans.

Mr Khan told the Assembly today that his budget would “improve Londoners lives”.

He said: “This budget builds on what my administration has achieved so far: more council homes started than in any year since 1984; the boldest and most ambitious actions of any major city anywhere in the world to tackle air pollution and the climate emergency; and a four year freeze on TfL fares as well as the introduction of the hopper.”

And the Mayor said his £100m extra investment to tackle violence would address “the scourge of violent crime that is having such devastating impact on our communities”.

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