London Assembly budget bid to save fire-stations and keep fares down

Darren Johnson

Darren Johnson - Credit: Green Party

An 11th hour amendment to halt closures of fire-stations has been tabled for the London Assembly’s meeting tomorrow (Friday).

Assembly member Darren Johnson has published an ‘alternative budget’ to “protect Londoners from damaging and unnecessary cuts to fire stations, fire engines and firefighters” while only raising council tax below the rate of inflation.

“This puts public safety and lower fares before gimmicks like council tax cuts and the new bus for London,” he said.

“Households would pay an extra £10 a year with a two per cent council tax rise, but would save fire-stations threatened by Boris’s cuts.

“We would also freeze fares or hold them at inflation which would save households £60 a year.”

His Green Party amendment to the Mayor’s proposed budget calls for bus and train fares to be held, setting up an accredited Landlords’ Register to cut out profiteering rental agencies and tackling London’s air pollution.

Highlights of the ‘alternative’ budget proposal are:

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- Cost of living: freeze bus fares and hold train and tube fares down to inflation, offset by council tax rise below inflation

- Housing: set-up ethical lettings agency to help tenants find decent landlords with decent homes—avoiding rip-off agents

- Fire Brigade: stop 12 fire-stations closing, or selling off 18 fire-engines and losing 520 firefighters

- Police: get more front-line policing by more civilian staff and support officers, dropping the obsession with police officer numbers

- Streets: spend two per cent of TfL’s budget to make bike journeys safer

- Health: More ‘low emission’ zones, set up a fund to help taxi-drivers upgrade and give practical help for schools

- Environment: set up a fund to help small businesses make premises more energy and water efficient.