Livingstone is London's "credit card" mayor

Conservatives have dubbed Ken Livingstone London's "credit card mayor" as he racks up the capital's borrowing budget by an extra £2.5 billion. Party Leader Michael Howard and Steve Norris joined forces to condemn the way Mr Livingstone is "frittering away" huge sums of public money - and passing on the bill to the capital's residents who are being hammered by big increases in council tax levies.

Warning that the Labour Mayor plans to borrow an additional £2.5 billion over the next five years, costing average Band D council taxpayers an extra £88 every year - on top of tax levies which have already doubled from £122 to £241 - Mr Howard said:

"Ken Livingstone has just granted himself the power to borrow an enormous sum of money, £2.5 billion, which has to be paid back by council taxpayers in London. This is a Mayor who, in the past four years, has wasted money in the most incredible ways you could imagine. And now he wants to grant himself a £2.5 billion loan that he wants someone else - that is, Londoners - to pay back."

Mr Howard protested: "The buy now, pay later Chancellor has spawned a credit card Mayor. And it's the people of London who are going to pay the price. My message to Londoners when voting on June 10 is this: If Ken Livingstone stays, you'll pay. And there is only one alternative - Steve Norris."

Mr Norris commented: "Londoners are already paying hundreds of pounds in council tax to City Hall, just to live in the most violent city in the country. Livingstone has spent the past four years frittering away millions on pointless political gestures and self-publicity. Now the Labour government is giving him a new "credit card" with a £2.5 billion limit - leaving council tax payers picking up the bill."

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