London

Mayor accused of 'letting down' Londoners in budget

The mayor of London has insisted that every Londoner will benefit from this year's budget which includes increasing police on the streets.

But his budget announcement has sparked criticism from opposition claiming the mayor is "letting down" Londoners with "record" tube and bus fare rises.

The mayor was accused of "spinning" police figures despite allocating extra funds to the Metropolitan Police.

Labour spokesman John Biggs said the "spin" was clear from Met figures.

"The fact is this mayor inherited a budget from his predecessor which paid for 1,000 extra officers," he added.

"But under Boris Johnson and this government numbers will go down and the progress we have made in tackling crime and reducing the fear of crime could well now be reversed."

'Snatching away'

The mayor said almost three quarters of the £935m raised by the precept will go to the Metropolitan Police Service to "help build on the success of the lowest murder rate since 1978".

An additional £42m to lift the recruitment freeze and to put an extra 413 police officers on the transport network was also announced along with plans for 50,000 affordable homes for 2012 and £34m to help end rough sleeping.

In his budget announcement on Wednesday the mayor froze the council tax precept at 38 pence per week for Londoners.

Mr Biggs, who is Labour's budget spokesman on the London Assembly, agreed not putting up his share of the council tax this year would save the average Londoner pennies but said too much was being taken away.

"The government is taking away £200 from every household," he added.

"This is on top of the mayor's record tube fare rises which hit everyone in London. He's giving a little with one hand and snatching away all he can carry."

Mike Tuffrey, Liberal Democrat London Assembly budget spokesman, said the burden could have been reduced on Londoners through his fare package.

"Instead he has placed a huge hike on fares on people living in outer London, by ending Zone 2-6 Travelcards.

"However the most serious criticism of the mayor's budget is that it is focused solely on next year's election."

The mayor's third budget, which outlined almost £1bn of savings to protect investment in front line services, has been approved unamended by the London Assembly.

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