Sorry, Boris, your cuts just don’t add up

26th January, 2013 12:12 pm

This week we have seen the Coalition Government’s statistics called into question. The numbers they use to justify their cuts seem to be cover for their ideological preference to cut back the state – leading to claims of ‘Lies, damned lies, and statistics!’.

In London Boris Johnson is doing the same and it’s a bit like a Punch and Judy show at City Hall at the moment – we accuse Boris of cutting police numbers and he flatly denies it. In fact, he says, he is increasing police numbers. We accuse him of putting Londoners safety and security at risk through the proposed cuts to the Fire Service due to attendance times increasing. Boris says this isn’t true and there will only be a marginal delay in a fire engine attending an incident. We say why won’t he stand up for London on the NHS and he says … not a lot actually.

The figures being used by the Mayor to justify his cuts to police and fire are highly manipulated and his cuts simply don’t add up.

The figures he uses to claim an increase in police numbers are based on a low point in 2011 during a recruitment freeze. Rather than the high point in 2010 when the investment put in under Ken Livingstone and the last government meant record numbers. Boris’s plans will also strip out police officers from Safer Neighbourhood Teams and also cut the number of police in two thirds of London’s boroughs compared to 2010. PCSOs are also seeing cuts that lead us to think the role is being phased out by stealth (they are extremely popular with the public but not so popular with the police). PCSO numbers will fall by 70% – there were 4,322 in 2010 with only 1,304 planned for 2015.

Remember that only last year Boris was re-elected on a pledge to get 1,000 more Police in London.

The Mayor – and his policing deputy Stephen Greenhalgh – are aiming to cut 20% from the Policing budget, improve public confidence by 20% and see a 20% cut in recorded crime. This is the “20:20:20” plan. It sounds too neat. It’s the kind of gimmick thought up by one of Boris’s overpaid advisers who has then got someone with a calculator to come up with figures to fit the soundbite.

The figures being used to support the proposals to cut fire services in London are similar. They are designed to make you doubt the obvious – that less is clearly not more. Less is sometimes just less. While it’s true that we would also have had to make cuts, and that real efficiency savings are important, sometimes the language of ‘efficiency savings’ mask unacceptably deep cuts to our emergency services. These cuts are too far, and too fast and are putting the safety and security of Londoners at risk.

We have opposed cuts to London’s fire budget of £45m over the next two years. We have highlighted the impact of station closures on target times for fire appliance getting to fires. Time matters, over the past decade the performance of the London Fire Brigade and the safety of Londoners has increased. We do not want a return to the bad old days.

The current target time for fire engine attendance is six minutes for the first appliance and eight for the second. The fact that there will be an increase in the average time it takes for a fire engine to reach an incident is not disputed – this is predicted to increase from 4 to 10 minutes.

The Mayor talks about average attendance times by Boroughs or across London. This makes the increase in times look marginal. But the cuts to stations and appliances don’t impact on a uniform London-wide basis. These cuts hit areas immediately around the stations that are closing and stations that are losing a fire engine. The key point is not the average increase, but the maximum increase. The increase should be estimated on at most a local ward level, but ideally a postcode level. This is possible to do (and publish) through similar modeling exercises to that currently being used to justify the cuts. It doesn’t take a statistics degree to explain why this detail hasn’t been published.

Feedback from London Labour’s 999 SOS campaign and from Party members running petitions locally shows that even people who never, or seldom vote Labour, are willing to sign up to save our emergency services.

Boris’s figures don’t add up – he is weak on cuts to our vital emergency services. He is failing to stand up for Londoners and is trying to keep his fingerprints off his cuts. We cannot allow him to get away with this attack on London’s frontline emergency services.

Fiona Twycross is a Labour Londonwide Assembly Member

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]

Latest

  • Featured Local Government News Scotland Wales Britain decides: liveblog 2016

    Britain decides: liveblog 2016

    We want to hear from Labour activists and supporters today so please send us your stories and pictures [email protected] The pick of the submissions will be added to the liveblog. Running the liveblog overnight is Sarah Pine, so you can also send tips on Twitter @mssarahpine 08.02 – The North Wales list has also been announced, but it has returned no Labour Assembly Members. Labour currently has 26 members, the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru have seven each, UKIP has two and the […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Wales Furniss and Elmore elected MPs in an “emphatic message” against austerity

    Furniss and Elmore elected MPs in an “emphatic message” against austerity

    Labour have held two crucial Parliamentary seats in what Gill Furniss, one of the new MPs, has said is an “emphatic message” to David Cameron from her constituency people are against his “uncaring government”. Furniss won the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough seat in last night’s by-election. She won 14,097 votes, of  66.5 per cent of the overall share – a jump from the 56.6 per cent Labour achieved in 2015. After winning, Furniss said people have “had enough” of the […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Where are we now? The election results so far, explained

    Where are we now? The election results so far, explained

    I’ve been up all through the night following the results for our election liveblog. If you’re just joining us for the rest of the results throughout today, here’s where we are so far: England At the beginning of the night, John McDonnell said that the results of these elections would be “complex”. He was, in a way, proved correct. Labour is losing council seats across the country, but not as many as had been expected – only 24 at the […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured These election results show Labour’s made a significant start on the road to 2020

    These election results show Labour’s made a significant start on the road to 2020

    Labour is rebuilding its support and closing the gap the Tories had at the 2015 general election. That’s the first message from last night’s first wave of by-election and council election results. None of us doubts the scale of the challenge to assemble a winning electoral coalition for 2020. But the early returns show Labour has made a significant start and performed better than many predicted. The clear signs are that we are doing better than last year, when we […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Election night: Nowhere to hide

    Election night: Nowhere to hide

    These are volatile times for established political parties, politicians and politics itself. Wherever we look; the old elites are creaking, the new elites are largely untested and political fragility looms large. To compound the difficulty, interest and participation in politics continues to decline. Binding these old and emerging political traditions together, like the tendrils of death, is a political culture dominated not by fact, not necessarily by opinion or belief, but by the invention of new truths. These new truths […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit