London Mayor's costs sky-rocket by 23%

The costs of running City Hall will escalate by a staggering 23% under plans being promoted by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the capital's Conservatives have warned.  Draft budget papers published for the next 2005-06 financial year reveal that the Mayor's core budget will leap from £56.3 million to £61.3 million, a jump of almost 9 per cent.

 

But as a result of the complex funding formula, the amount which will raised from council tax will leap from £20 million this year to £24.6 million next - a precept of 23%. The figures are bound to trigger concerns amongst London's council taxpayers, who have already seen their bill for the Greater London Authority rise by 96% since Ken Livingstone came to power in 2000.

Responding to the increase, Leader of the London Assembly Conservatives, Bob Neill said: "Over-spending-Ken is at it again. London's taxpayers will be dismayed to hear the cost of running City Hall is going up by a whopping 23%. This is completely unacceptable."

Pointing out that Local Government Minister, and member of parliament for Greenwich & Woolwich, Nick Raynsford proclaimed in 1999 that the proposed GLA would be "the smallest, most streamlined authority of any major city in the world" and would be "an example of good efficient administration, not a bureaucratic organisation", Mr Neill protested:

"Instead of expanding his own paper-pushing bureaucracy at City Hall, Ken Livingstone should be funding more police officers on London's streets. You can guarantee the Conservatives' alternative budget will propose a massive cut in the cost of City Hall. We'll fight this all the way."

Examples of spending waste under the Livingstone regime include £1.1 million on hosting the left wing ESF Conference in London; £5,000 to join the Association of Nuclear Free Authorities; £15,000 on CND conference hosted at City Hall; £40,000 over a four year period to hire a consultant in Moscow; £108,000 on an 'Annual London Conference' at which speakers included Union Leaders, CND, and various left wing politicians; £120,000 for a Hawk and Trainers to deter pigeons from Trafalgar Square; £3.8 million a year on the London Newspaper; plus the cost of maintaining 58 Media and Marketing Officers.