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Squeeze may leave future City Hall tax freezes out in the cold

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:28 05 October 2010

BORIS Johnson may struggle to continue freezing the council tax precept the GLA takes from the 32 London boroughs in April. City Hall is facing unprecedented financial pressures, the London Assembly warns

By Mike Brooke

BORIS Johnson may struggle to continue freezing the council tax precept the GLA takes from the 32 London boroughs in April.

City Hall is facing unprecedented financial pressures, the London Assembly warns.

London is suffering from the recession as well as rocketing costs of modernising the Underground which is put at £400 million more than planned, says a response to the Mayor’s proposed budget for the 2010-11 financial year.

There is a risk of cuts to future Government funding which would mean the Mayor may not be able to prevent the GLA precept rising on April 1 without cutting police, fire and transport services, the Assembly’s budget and performance committee fears.

“Many Londoners are pleased about the Mayor’s decision to freeze the precept for the second time in these difficult times,” said committee chair John Biggs.

“But it remains to be seen just how long he’s able to keep it up without affecting the essential services.”

His committee’s response warns that Boris Johnson may already be pushing the limits of savings at Transport for London before cutting services become inevitable. TfL has been told to save £5 billion by 2017, double the amount demanded in last year’s budget, while income from fares is forecast at £100m less than last year’s predictions.

The committee says it would also be difficult to assess how changes at the police and fire authorities will affect front line services.

But the London Assembly’s Conservative Group, meanwhile, does not support the committee’s response.


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