UPDATED: London Assembly votes to amend Mayor’s draft budget
14:39 08 February 2013
London Assembly opposition members have united against cost cutting measures proposed by Boris Johnson.
Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party members voted, by a majority of 15 to nine, for a joint amendment to the Mayor’s draft budget for 2013/14.
Mr Johnson now faces calls to reverse his flagship policy and freeze rather than cut council tax to raise £9.4million - enough, the parties claim, to keep open the 12 fire stations and dozens of police station counters proposed for closure.
Mayoral spending can be stemmed by the Assembly if two thirds of its members vote against his budget proposals. The final budget will be presented for approval on February 25.
London Assembly Labour budget spokesman John Biggs AM said: “Boris has a clear choice, he can either cut council tax by seven pence a week, or he can freeze it and use the money to keep our fire stations and police front counters open.
“By axing 12 fire stations and 18 fire engines Boris is jeopardising the safety and security of Londoners. We have altered his budget with a fully costed plan to keep these much needed front line services.”
The vote came after Mr Johnson faced questioning by assembly members at City Hall today over the budget proposals.
The Lib Dem group proposed to create a new £1.7billion housing investment fund, to deliver an extra 55,000 affordable homes and create 37,000 permanent jobs.
They also claim that cutting out wasteful spending, like chauffeur driven cars for senior officers will lessen the need to make cuts to stations.
Party budget spokesman Stephen Knight AM added: “Today’s vote shows that the majority of elected London Assembly Members fundamentally disagree with the Mayor’s disastrous proposals for closing fire stations and police counters.
“We have united to amend the Mayor’s budget to protect London’s emergency services rather than offering a trivial 7p a week cut in council tax.
“The Mayor must now think again.
“However, if he seeks to overturn this amendment then it will be crystal clear to Londoners that his attack on London’s emergency services is unnecessary and ideologically driven.”