Channel 1 Los Angeles
The Mayor called on ministers to keep their promise that there would be no new era of austerity as a result of the coronavirus – and warned that failure to act now would undermine the Government’s pledge to recruit 20,000 new police officers across the UK and efforts to transform the London Fire Brigade in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Overall, the GLA Group faces a forecast £493m budget shortfall over the next two years as a result of an unprecedented loss of business rates and council tax income, caused by Covid-19, that is hitting every local authority in the country. This is in addition to significant emergency costs already incurred by the GLA Group through schemes to support Londoners during the pandemic.
The Mayor has said these cuts would come at the worst possible time – when we need to be investing in policing to suppress a rise in violent crime as lockdown is eased and as the London Fire Brigade is making changes following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. He has also warned that the cuts could hamper the recovery effort to boost the economy, support jobs, invest in skills and help Londoners get back on track.
Sadiq today promised that he will do everything possible to protect frontline services. He has committed to take an immediate 10 per cent pay cut – and to freeze the salaries of his 15 direct appointments. This comes on top of the 11 per cent saving to taxpayers arising from the Mayor’s decision in 2016 not to take a pension, unlike his predecessors.
Sadiq’s decision to cut his own pay shows the Mayor leading from the front and is also an act of solidarity with frontline workers and all those affected by Covid-19.
The Mayor will shortly publish new Budget Guidance, which will outline the request for the GLA, Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police Service, the London Fire Brigade, the London Legacy Development Corporation, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation to report back by the end of November 2020 on how they could deliver significant savings while continuing to support London’s recovery as much as possible.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“Londoners did the right thing to tackle Covid-19 by following the rules, staying at home and helping to save lives. But now the Government is punishing them with a new era of austerity.