Keith Prince AM: Sadiq Khan didn't have to make you pay more
Updated: Mar 11
Sadiq Khan's final budget as Mayor shows he has the wrong priorities for London. Instead of making savings, Khan chose to increase his share of council tax by 9.5% and protect his wasteful spending.
Worse still, the Mayor's refusing to take responsibility for his decision by claiming he had "no choice" but to make Londoners pay more. This simply isn't true - the Mayor did have a choice and the Conservative Group at City Hall presented it to him.
My colleagues and I unveiled a fully-costed amendment to the Mayor's budget which would have frozen council tax. Our plan would protect concessionary travel, including free travel for under-18s, invest £45 million in policing and create a £50 million recovery fund without adding a penny to Londoners' council tax bill.
Instead of increasing council tax, we identified how the Mayor could make nearly £100 million in savings by cutting waste at City Hall and reforming Transport for London. By modernising TfL's outdated and extortionate bonuses, perks and gold-plated pensions, Khan could save nearly £90 million. A further £7 million could have been saved by scrapping the Mayor's controversial statue-toppling commission and cutting his PR budgets.
No Londoner wants to pay more tax to fund the Mayor's press team, virtue signalling projects, and unjustifiable TfL reward schemes. But, that's what the Mayor is asking Londoners to do in his budget. Our plan would put Londoners' priorities first instead of Sadiq Khan and his trade union allies' interests.
Sadiq Khan didn't have to make struggling Londoners pay more - he could have backed our plan to freeze council tax. Sadly, the Mayor refused to cut his waste and reform TfL and chose to slap struggling Londoners with a bigger tax bill. In good times, it's terrible judgement. In the midst of a pandemic, it's disgraceful.
Article by Keith Prince AM first published in the Romford Recorder & Ilford Recorder.