Sadiq Khan’s press office costs rocket by 33%
Sadiq Khan has been accused today of prioritising self-promotion over keeping London safe after new figures revealed that his press office costs have soared by 33 percent.
GLA Conservatives’ Leader Susan Hall said that the rise was just the “tip of the iceberg” and that the Mayor had “consistently and shamelessly” wasted money since he was elected in 2016.
The data shows that the cost of the Mayor’s press office has increased sharply from £732,537 during the final year of Boris Johnson’s mayoralty to £977,912 in 2019/20.
The Mayor’s overall office costs have also increased dramatically; in 2015/16 the taxpayer paid £3.8 million for the Mayor’s office, but this has rocketed by nearly 60% to £6 million in four years.
In Sadiq Khan’s draft budget for 2021-22, there will be no reductions to the Mayor’s press team, but his office will offer up a net saving of a mere £136,000. Ms Hall accused the Mayor of putting his own self-interest before Londoners’ priorities.
The Mayor announced in June that he was looking to slash London’s policing and fire budgets by nearly £130 million to plug the £493 million gap in City Hall’s finances due to coronavirus. He is expected to publish his formal policing and fire draft budget in the coming weeks.
Susan Hall AM, Leader of the GLA Conservatives, commented: “At a time when Sadiq Khan says City Hall faces a £493 million black hole, he cannot possibly justify his extortionate press office bill. It beggars belief that the Mayor plans to cut London’s policing and fire budgets by £130 million, but is protecting his office which costs Londoners millions more than Boris Johnson’s did.
“Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Ever since he was elected, Sadiq Khan has consistently and shamelessly prioritised wasting money on perks, PR and bureaucracy. Sadiq Khan is putting his own self-interest before Londoners’ priorities by protecting his press team and office in his draft budget. “To help protect London’s emergency services, he must go back to the drawing board and cut his extortionate press team and office costs. Londoners don’t want to pay more for a Mayor who can’t keep our city safe, misses his housing targets and wrecked Transport for London’s finances.”