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BORIS JOHNSON: A grand first year, but immense challenges lie ahead

PUBLISHED: 14:30 05 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:09 07 September 2010

ON the eve of the alcohol ban on the Tube, it wasn t looking good. The mini riot revealed displeasure not seen so early in a political reign. Thankfully, this particular election promise seems to have gone down well overall. Many people report that the Tu

ON the eve of the alcohol ban on the Tube, it wasn't looking good. The mini riot revealed displeasure not seen so early in a political reign.

Thankfully, this particular election promise seems to have gone down well overall. Many people report that the Tube is now more pleasant as a result.

When I was elected Mayor, I promised I would cut waste at City Hall, get to grips with crime and improve quality of life for all Londoners - not just Zone One.

One of my first acts was to scrap the propaganda sheet The Londoner. An epic waste of money, it cost you the taxpayer £3million a year. The money saved has funded police, parks and trees: 1,500 new street trees have been planted including 250 in Haringey.

Many of you will have voted for your local park to get a mayoral grant. Thanks to your efforts, Dollis Valley Green Walk in Barnet and Lordship Recreation Ground in Haringey will now be spruced up.

And 500 uniformed police are now patrolling buses and suburban stations to deter low-level disorder and there are now teams based at Seven Sisters and Edgware stations.

When I stood for office, I did so against a backdrop of appalling, tragic and escalating youth murders. I promised to make tackling it a priority.

That is why I gave my backing to the sensitive use of stop and search, which has so far taken almost 5,000 knives off the streets. In the long-term, we are supporting programmes that will get first time offenders into education, encourage more sport and crack down on truancy.

The latest crime figures show promising results. There is less violence in London compared to a year ago, with welcome falls in gun and knife crime. But I will never be complacent; Londoners want a safer city and I am working hard to achieve that goal.

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing our city is the recession. We are helping small businesses access finance and support, as well lobbying the government for the cash we need to get moving again.

I have cut the cost of running City Hall, spending less on foreign travel and consultants and scrapping the GLA office in Venezuela. That has enabled me to freeze the Mayor's share of the council tax this year, after a 152 per cent increase over eight years.

This is just the beginning. London faces huge challenges over the next few years; getting through the recession, the Olympics and the massive Tube upgrades.

London is a city made for such challenges, a place where people still flock to pursue their dreams. When the eyes of the world fall upon us in 2012, I want them to see a city that has beaten the recession, has kept its status as a world city and has a quality of life that is the envy of the world.

BORIS JOHNSON

Mayor of London

BY extending the pensioners' freedom pass to 24-hour operation, Boris Johnson has kept his promises to help the elderly. In regards to transport it is not only the extra money in the pocket, but also the extra safety which has come from banning alcohol consumption.

Boris has also pledged action on the 29 and N29 bus service which have a notoriously high incidence of anti-social behaviour, including muggings and pick pocketing.

Boris made it extremely clear in his campaign that he would fight tooth and nail to combat the increasing levels of crime and he has so far showed that he is a mayor who adopts a 'hands-on' approach.

People who weren't initially convinced are starting to like what they are seeing from a Conservative Mayor of London.

Cllr Martin Davies

Executive Member for Adult Social Care & Health, Camden Council

Regardless of how miserable the current economic climate is, London is still and will continue to be the world's capital and with Boris at the helm, things are only going to improve.

With the majority of Londoners optimistic that our city continues to head in the right direction, we can all start to look forward to better times and 2012 when the world looks to us to deliver the Olympic Games, one which is sure to blow everyone away.

Cllr Dawn Somper

(Cons) Frognal & Fitzjohns

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