Two years on, the cost of the Tories in London is clear

April 29, 2010 9:16 am

Author:

Share this Article

Boris Cameron

By Len Duvall AM

This week marks the second anniversary of Boris Johnson’s election as Mayor of London. With just days to go until the country goes to the polls, what does the administration of Cameron’s Bullingdon Club colleague tell us about how a Tory government might look? If they really are the party of change, what kind of change can we expect?

On all the big issues facing London – housing, public services, transport, crime, safety and the environment – the Tories’ record in power is not a good one.

There are over a third of a million households on London’s housing waiting lists – families often living in over-crowded and poor conditions and with little security. Yet despite this urgent need, one of Boris Johnson’s first moves was to scrap the policy that half of all new housing should be affordable. And he has gone back on his election pledge to build 50,000 affordable homes by 2011.

Despite promising to chair the Metropolitan Police Authority to get more police on the street, Johnson is actually cutting 455 officers and has refused to guarantee the neighbourhood policing model of one sergeant, two PCs and three PCSOs for every London ward.

And while he rails against public sector “fat cats” in his Daily Telegraph column, he has presided over massive pay rises for himself and his most senior staff, while cutting jobs lower down the chain.

His re-organisation of City Hall has made the GLA more white and more male.

Just a couple of weeks ago, it was announced that London’s childcare affordability team is being scrapped. With the future of early years and Sure Start centres in jeopardy from the Conservatives, Boris Johnson’s decision puts 10,000 childcare places for low-income families under threat.

But it is arguably transport which has suffered most thanks to Tory rule in London.

Boris Johnson has failed to persuade his party to commit to Crossrail. He has cancelled a funded Thames crossing in East London that would have brought jobs and regeneration to the area. And wasteful, regressive decisions like halving the size of the congestion charge zone, replacing London’s modern bus fleet and wasting over £1.5m per vehicle on building five new double-deckers have been paid for by the biggest real terms fare rises in Transport for London’s history.

Hardworking Londoners faced 20% bus fare rises in January thanks to Boris Johnson’s decisions. And rather than keeping fares down and protecting public services, he has instead spent his political capital campaigning against tighter regulation for financial services and a higher rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000. He has spent his time talking up the chances of bankers leaving London, warning they have been “punished enough”, and has campaigned against taxing City bonuses.

On the environment, London has gone from being a world-leader in tackling climate change to losing the chair of the influential C40 group. Under the Conservatives, plans to charge the most polluting vehicles a higher rate of congestion charge have been cancelled.

And while up to 5,000 Londoners die prematurely because of the city’s poor air quality, Boris Johnson prevented a scheme going ahead which would have charged the most polluting vehicles for driving into Greater London.

This is the cost of the Conservatives in London: a less green city, higher fares for hard-working Londoners, reduced services and a lack of support for people who need a home they can afford.

For anyone who thinks the Tories have changed, Boris Johnson’s two years in charge of London reveals their true face. The presentation may have improved, but at every opportunity the “nasty” party will fall down on the side of the few, not the many.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • Comment Labour will treat disabled people with dignity and respect

    Labour will treat disabled people with dignity and respect

    Exactly a year ago when the last Remploy factories were closed, government ministers promised Remploy workers support to find new jobs. But one year on, it is clear that promise has been broken. A survey by the GMB union has found that only one in four former Remploy staff are in work. Those who are in jobs are often on shorter hours and less pay. I’ve met former Remploy workers from Yorkshire, Wales, and the North West who told me how they’ve been […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Labour wins South Yorkshire PCC By-election on first round

    Labour wins South Yorkshire PCC By-election on first round

    The by-election for South Yorkshire PCC – in the wake of the Rotherham child abuse scandal and the resignation of former PCC Shaun Wright – took place yesterday, and the results are being announced today. As I wrote on Wednesday, Labour is facing a tough time up against UKIP. So what do we know so far: LABOUR WINS THE BYELECTION ON THE FIRST ROUND WITH 50.002% OF THE VOTE Labour spokesperson: “Nigel Farage said he was putting his tanks on our […]

    Read more →
  • News Miliband unveils plans for “English Devolution Act”

    Miliband unveils plans for “English Devolution Act”

    After speaking at Scottish Labour’s Gala Dinner last night, Ed Miliband is in Manchester today to talk about English Devolution – and in particular, plans for an “English Devolution Act” and a “regional cabinet” made up of relevant Secretaries of State and leaders from major City and County Regions. The Labour leader will announce the following as manifesto commitments: An English Devolution Act, securing devolution to the English regions, transfer £30 billion-worth of funding over five years and building on Scottish and Welsh […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Bookies say Murphy is the odds-on favourite for Scottish Labour leader

    Bookies say Murphy is the odds-on favourite for Scottish Labour leader

    The contest for Scottish Labour Leader officially begins today, as candidate nominations open (they close on Thursday). We’re not expecting any further candidates to announce now, so the field is likely to be made up of Sarah Boyack, Neil Findlay and Jim Murphy. Ladbrokes have announced their odds for the contest and make Murphy an odds-on favourite, with Findlay in second place and Boyack as a long shot: Jim Murphy 1/2 Neil Findlay 2/1 Sarah Boyack 8/1 After the poor […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Afghanistan was a waste of life and money. Our politics won’t recover until we recognise that

    Afghanistan was a waste of life and money. Our politics won’t recover until we recognise that

    It’s happened many times before. The union flag is pulled down surrounded by anxious British soldiers. They hope the ‘natives’ they’ve handed power to will hold on to a British-friendly kind of order, but are desperate most of all to get home safely. The plaques recording the lives and deaths of fallen comrades are unscrewed and packed up, and a patch of desert goes back to dust. The British military say they have confidence in the Afghan army to hold […]

    Read more →