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Boris gets his £14bn London budget through without change

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:35 05 October 2010

BORIS Johnson managed to push his tough £14 billion budget through the London Assembly yesterday by the skin of his teeth—with no amendments. He actually lost the tally by two votes, 11 for and 13 against

By Mike Brooke

BORIS Johnson managed to push his tough £14 billion budget through the London Assembly yesterday by the skin of his teeth—with no amendments.

He actually lost the tally by two votes, 11 for and 13 against, after fierce criticism over bus and Tube fare rises and cuts in police numbers in the face of rising crime.

But the budget was approved because it can only be altered if there is a two-thirds majority calling for it.

A spokesman at the Mayor’s Office explained: “It is confusing, but the Mayor doesn’t actually need the Assembly to vote in favour—he just needs amendments to fail to get a two thirds majority, which means 17 votes if all 25 Assembly Members are voting.”

So the lean and mean’ budget goes ahead, despite protests at fare rises—single bus journeys up 20 per cent—and cuts in police numbers.

On the day snow fell again in London, Boris has frozen the GLA’s precept it takes from the 32 London boroughs for the second year running.

This brings relief to families faced with rising council tax bills, especially in areas like the East End, one of London’s most socially-deprived corners.

Boris promised the East End’s 96,000 households: “I am once again freezing what City Hall takes from Tower Hamlets council taxpayers.

“Londoners suffered from outrageous increases in the GLA precept of 153 per cent over the eight years of the previous administration.”

His get tough’ fiscal diet includes plans for £500m more cuts next year and a total of £2.4 billion over the coming three years “in recognition of severe public spending constraints facing the country.”


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