Boris welcomes government CSR pledge to invest in London’s transport
LONDON has not done too badly after the Comprehensive Spending Review, was the message from the city’s Mayor Boris Johnson at City Hall this afternoon.
Crossrail will go ahead as will the Tube upgrades and funding for London’s new bikes and bicycle superhighways is secure – although tube, bus and overground fares are set to go up in 2011 by around seven per cent.
The Mayor also said he is confident that he can deal with the majority of cuts to the policing budget without affecting frontline services and he pledged to still build 50,000 affordable homes before the end of his Mayoralty in 2012.
Mr Johnson said for months he lobbied the coalition government to make sure that transport investment would be safe because it is vital to the growth of the economy.
He also said that London has already been saving for two years and that was reflected in the levels of cuts it is now facing after the CSR announced by Chancellor George Osborne at lunchtime.
But there are still cuts facing the capital, including cuts to the policing and fire budget as well as some to housing and Transport for London.
The Mayor said: “Many months ago it became clear that whichever government won the election would have to make substantial cuts to public spending to deal with the deficit.
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“London is the motor of the UK economy and it would be madness to starve that motor of fuel. The best way to drive forward growth in the UK is to ensure we have a safe, clean and productive capital city where people can move around safely and cheaply.
“In spite of the tough measures we have heard today from the Chancellor it is clear that our points have been understood and agreed by the treasury.
“We have already saved 16 per cent in the police and I am increasingly optimistic that we will be able to maintain frontline policing and continue to drive down crime.
“In the run up to the CSR people were saying you will never save Crossrail but we have and it will be a fantastic new line through London.
“The Tube upgrades are also secure and I believe they are indispensable for future economic growth in the UK.”
Mr Johnson also announced that he will abolish the Western extension of the congestion charge by Christmas and introduce an automated payment system in the new year for the rest of the zone to make it easier for motorists.
But Transport for London is still facing cuts of around two per cent a year for the next four years and a review is currently underway to make the organisation as efficient as possible.
Mr Johnson added: “I am lobbying the government for the lion’s share of what is left for housing and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that Londoners get the safety they deserve on the streets and on public transport.”