Gareth Bacon AM said:
“While it is right that all taxi and private hire drivers are able to communicate effectively in English, the proposed approach of TfL has been overly prescriptive. For years London politicians from across the political spectrum have expressed concerns about these plans, which were always disproportionate, unnecessary and potentially damaging not only to the industry but also to the livelihoods of countless drivers. This is a welcome climbdown.
“While today’s announcement is a small step in the right direction, it is still the case that under this Mayor TfL is hammering the private hire industry. Sadiq Khan’s decision to increase operator fees by hundreds – and in some cases thousands - of percent has put some small companies out of business, and plans to remove the congestion charge exemption for private hire vehicles will likely have a devastating impact on the industry”.
Andrew Boff AM: “While everyone agrees that we need to help kids to live healthier lives, there is next to no evidence to suggest that this ban will have any impact on the scourge of childhood obesity.
“What we do know is that this move will prohibit adverts for foods such as pesto, salads and bread while Macmillan Cancer coffee morning ads may also be subject to the ban. Does Khan really think that the main drivers of childhood obesity are the promotion of every day foods and charities carrying out invaluable work?
“While this flawed policy will do nothing for childhood obesity, it will certainly succeed in starving TfL of £13 million a year. Make no mistake, this is money which could otherwise have been spent on the transport infrastructure upgrades that Londoners are crying out for. As this polling data shows, Londoners are not supportive of this ban if it leads to an inevitable lack of investment.
“This is an ill-thought-through and reckless policy from a Mayor who is more interested in virtue signalling than getting a grip on childhood obesity levels”.
Gareth Bacon AM: “It is no secret that we are facing a crime epidemic in the capital; the Mayor has lost control of the streets and Londoners are feeling increasingly unsafe in their own city.
“When he’s asked about London’s soaring crime rates, Sadiq Khan will invariably blame the government and try to reassure Londoners that he is doing everything within his power to deal with these heinous crimes.
“But the Mayor’s budget shows that he is taking Londoners for fools. Far from doing all he can, he is choosing to waste millions more on PR, City Hall bureaucrats and the transport unions at the expense of keeping Londoners safe.
“Our amendment to the Mayor’s budget would have scrapped the waste and used the savings to put nearly 1400 additional police officers on the streets. The fact that the Mayor ignored our plans shows that he is completely out of touch with the needs of Londoners. Make no mistake, the Mayor has chosen to prioritise press officers over police officers”.
Keith Prince AM comment: Mayor doubles ‘scrap for cash’ polluting vehicle fund as he holds National Clean Air Summit
Keith Prince AM said: “The penny appears to have finally dropped and the Mayor has at last realised that his approach to introducing the new ULEZ will hit poorest Londoners the hardest.
“While the Mayor is right to help Londoners prepare for the ULEZ, this new scrappage scheme is just a drop in the ocean. With the Mayor’s figures estimating that 100,000 vehicles will be impacted by ULEZ and other predictions forecasting that this number will be much higher, we need Sadiq Khan to do much more than just tinkering around the edges”.
Fresh figures show that the number of empty shops in Ilford more than doubled in just one year.
The stats, which have been obtained by the GLA Conservatives, show that 78 shops in Ilford were empty in 2017/18 – up from 32 in 2016/17. Since April last year, 44 shops have been empty.
Across Redbridge the number of empty shops increased by 46 in the same year – rising from 88 to 134.
The figures come as part of a new report from City Hall Conservatives - Helping our High Streets – which argues that the Mayor of London could and should be doing more to help our struggling town centres.
Khan accused of prioritising “waste and spin over keeping Londoners safe” as GLA Tories publish plan to put almost 1,400 extra bobbies on the beat
Sadiq Khan could put nearly 1,400 more police officers on London’s streets by cutting waste, a fully-costed plan from the GLA Conservatives has shown.
The proposed changes form an amendment to the Mayor’s draft budget, which currently earmarks millions extra for PR, culture, City Hall staff and the transport unions. This comes despite the Mayor’s claim that government policies mean that he can’t afford to increase police numbers.
The amendment, which was tabled today, calls on the Mayor to reduce some of the bloated budgets down to 2016/17 levels – the year Khan took office. By doing so, the Mayor could free up nearly £83 million to invest in new police officers.
Sadiq Khan was today accused of being in the “pockets of the unions”, as it emerged that the amount of time Transport for London (TfL) staff are dedicating to trade union duties has rocketed over the past two years.
In 2015/2016 the number of TfL trade union representatives who spent 50 percent or more of their time on union work stood at 48, but this number has now more than doubled to over 100.
This has come at a cost to the taxpayer of over £10 million – up from £4.4 million during the final year of Boris Johnson’s mayoralty.
The new figures also reveal that as of March this year 68 TfL employees spent between 51 and 99 percent of their time on union duties and 37 members of staff were full-time union reps.
The practice of allowing union reps paid time off work to deal with union-related matters is known as “facility time”.
The Mayor of London was today accused of spending millions on the wrong priorities, as it emerged that TfL salaries have rocketed by 15 percent in one year.
New figures show that TfL’s remuneration costs have surged from £1.9 billion in 2016/17 to £2.2 billion this year. This comes despite the average headcount at TfL falling from 27,500 last year to under 27,000 currently.
Prince said that a significant amount of this increase has gone towards the “eyewatering pay rises” which have been awarded to the most senior TfL employees this year. These include:
Fresh data has revealed that London Mayor Sadiq Khan increased his own office budget by 60 percent since his election in 2016.
Figures obtained by London-wide Assembly Member Susan Hall show that £3.8 million was spent on the Mayor’s office in 2015/2016, but after year-on-year increases the amount has now surged to £6 million.
Khan said that the dramatic increase was due in part to the Night Czar, Amy Lamé, being given a fixed-term post within the Mayor’s Office. Lamé has been criticised in the past for posting offensive tweets about prominent Conservative politicians and even the Queen. Questions were raised when her salary more than doubled at the end of last year.
This comes as the overall staff bill at the GLA has rocketed by £9 million since 2016.
Mayor Sadiq Khan was today accused of ‘wasting money on the wrong priorities’, as it emerged that over 18,000 London Underground staff received a 3.85 percent pay rise this year.
Freedom of Information data shows that the pay award cost TfL nearly £33 million, which comes as the transport budget is nearly £1 billion in deficit.
The pay rise given to tube staff is nearly double that of other public sector staff, including the police, who received a 2 percent wage increase this year. The new figures show that awarding Underground staff a rise in line with local government would have cost TfL nearly £16 million less.