Conservative mayoral candidate and current City Hall incumbent, Boris Johnson, outlines his manifesto for Londoners with a focus on cutting waste, keeping London safer with officers on the beat and getting the best bargain from Downing Street. This post follows on from contributions earlier this week from other mayoral candidates including Brian Paddick, Ken Livingstone and Jenny Jones, with an introduction by Tony Travers.
As I approach this election, I feel like a man who has built half a bridge – I can see the other side; I can see what needs to be done. And I want to get on with my nine point plan to secure Greater London’s future.
We have gripped the waste and bureaucracy that infused City Hall, and turned it round. We have taken the cost out – streamlining 25 per cent of directors at TfL, ensuring 23 buildings have been sold or otherwise disposed, resulting in £2bn of taxpayer’s money already saved. And we are putting that money where Londoners want to see it spent. In spite of the very difficult circumstances there will be more police – 1,000 more warranted officers on the streets than there were at the beginning of my term.
And I have taken a personal lead on crime. Where it has been necessary to make changes at the top of the Met I have not hesitated to do so. And in Bernard Hogan Howe we have a copper’s copper who is delivering results. Over the last four years we’ve seen a ten per cent drop in overall crime; it is down 20 per cent on the Tube and we now have the safest tube network in Europe; and it is 30 per cent safer on London’s buses. And in case you think I am fudging these statistics let me point out that it is very difficult to dispose of a corpse, and the murder rate is down by 25 per cent.
And as long as I am Mayor we are going to keep rousing these people out of bed and keep driving down crime and making London the safest big city on earth. And instead of wasting taxpayer’s money we have been going through a neo-Victorian surge of investment in transport infrastructure that is the key to this city’s prosperity.
In order to keep making progress on this important work improving the lives of London’s families, I have a nine point plan to secure Greater London’s future:
Cutting waste at City Hall – freeing up £3.5 billion for services.
I want to keep making the £3.5billion worth of reductions in waste, and getting the maximum from my friends in the Treasury, so that we put the scarce resources of London’s taxpayers where it will make the biggest difference, to our critical objective of boosting jobs and growth.
Making our streets and homes safer with 1,000 more police on the beat. I know it is by making London ever safer and better to live in that we will bring investment – and so I pledge that we will not only have another 1,000 officers on the beat by this May, but that we will keep numbers high for as long as I am Mayor.
Investing £221 million to transform local high streets, supporting small businesses.
And we are going to keep making those £221million investments in outer London town centres that make them more pleasant to visit and to shop in, which will unlock their potential as the motors of the economy.
Restoring 300 acres of green space and planting 20,000 street trees.
So we are going to keep improving green spaces, and plant another 20,000 street trees, and a bus that is not only British-made but at 12mpg is virtually the greenest bus in Europe.
Ensuring a true Olympic legacy – 11,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs.
It is absolutely vital that with a dynamic and growing population we provide the housing Londoners need. We have done 50,000 affordable homes and we are going to do another 55,000 – as part of a true, tangible Olympic legacy. Starting in 2013, conversion of the Olympic village will create a thriving new community with schools, shops, health and community centres, which in turn will generate up to 10,000 new permanent jobs.
Reducing Tube delays 30% by 2015. Building Crossrail and orbital rail to link our suburbs. Extending the Bike Hire scheme.
With the population set to grow by another 1.5m in the next ten years, and with our transport system feeling the strain; we need to go further – above all with modernisation and automation of the Tube so that it is as clean and fast and efficient as the best of the Asian economies.
Creating 200,000 new jobs over the next four years.
If we look at this combined programme of investment – in housing; transport; and the Olympics sites – we calculate that we will generate 200,000 new jobs over the next four years. To say nothing of the additional boost those improvements will make to London’s global competitiveness.
Securing a better deal for London from No 10.
Many of these achievements have been the result continuously, confidently and constructively arguing London’s case to my friends in Government. This has made sure we have secured full funding for Crossrail; an extra £90million to protect police numbers after the Olympics. I’m proud to stand up for Londoners in these difficult times.
Putting £445 back in your pocket by freezing the Mayoral share of council tax.
And I am utterly confident that we will be able to do it while keeping your council tax frozen or cut. I have saved £445 for every household by turfing out Ken Livingstone. Again I repeat my pledge to keep council tax low for as long as I am Mayor.
And that is the choice for Londoners on 3rd May this year. To go back to the irresponsible and unaffordable approach of 1970s Labour taking London backwards, or to go forward with a programme of investment and modernisation that is essential for cutting fares. I believe London deserves another four years of sensible, moderate, no nonsense government.
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Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of the British Politics and Policy blog, nor of the London School of Economics.
Boris Johnson was elected Mayor of London in 2008. His political career began when he was elected as MP for Henley on Thames in 2001. He has served as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts and Shadow Minister for Higher Education. Prior to his entry into politics, Johnson worked as a journalist for The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator.