Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Boris Johnson attacked for eleven pence tax con

Boris Johnson's 'economic recovery action plan' hit the ground limping this morning after it was pointed out that average families will be worse off under his plans

As revealed here yesterday, Boris's Mayoral precept freeze would have saved the average London household just eleven pence a week, had it been brought in this year.

His January fare rises on the other hand are estimated to make the average couple around £90 a year worse off.

Speaking after today's Mayor's Question Time, Labour group London Assembly leader Len Duvall called the plans a 'total fraud'

"It is a total fraud from the Mayor when he tells Londoners he is saving them money and is the saviour of their economy. The average couple travelling to and from work on London's buses will be around £90 a year worse off. Johnson bangs on about providing more for less and making Londoners better off. It is pure and smoke and mirrors.

"For the sake of a few pennies off their council tax, working Londoners will be worse off under Boris Johnson. The Mayor said today he was 'happy with the title of scrooge'. For once I am in total agreement with his analysis."

Ironically, those living in the Boris-voting suburbs will be the worst hit by the hikes, with big rises for those living in zone six.

Those people living in the cheapest accommodation will also get the least benefit from Boris's precept freeze. 

If this years rise had been frozen, then a single person living in a Band A property would have been just £2.86 a year better off.

However, there is some debate about exactly how much the precept would have risen had Ken Livingstone remained Mayor.

At yesterday's Budget and Performance Committee, a GLA executive estimated that it would probably have risen by about three percent (one per cent above this year's rise)

But even if that had been the case, Boris's precept freeze will still only save a Band D household just £8 a year.

Charges Cut

Boris's decision not to implement the £25 'gas guzzler' charge, and to cut the WEZ in 2010 were pointed to today as ways in which Boris will actually make life cheaper for Londoners.

But for those Londoners reliant on public transport, his big fare rises and tiny tax cuts mean they will head into recession paying much more, whilst getting much less.

Updates and Links


Dee Doocey (Lib Dem Press release) said...

Dee Doocey, Liberal Democrat economic spokesperson at the London Assembly has called on the Mayor to use his Economic Recovery Plan to do more to help the voluntary sector, particularly those services offering advice to people at risk of losing their jobs, or facing financial difficulties in the current recession.

Dee Doocey said:

"The Mayor's Plan has 57 recommendations in it, and although the Mayor through the LDA is providing £33 million for small business, he is not providing any funding for the voluntary sector. Timely financial advice could help Londoners to avoid the risk of losing their homes and jobs. With the Bank of England adviser David Blanchflower warning this morning that unemployment is set to soar to three million, the pressures being put on organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau will only increase. I urged the Mayor at his Question Time this morning to get the LDA to look at how they can support the voluntary sector - I hope he does do this.

"Londoners would expect the Mayor's plan to deliver real action but I have real concerns about some of the suggestions. For example, Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that London needs a diverse economy; this plan just delivers a new financial board. The Tube and Bus fare increase in January will put up cost of living and working in London through fare rises vastly more than any saving in council tax that the Mayor is promising.

"And recent announcements of the cancellation of vital capital infrastructure projects like the Cross River Tram, which would provide much needed investment in jobs and support for SME businesses in one of the most deprived parts of London, shows that maybe the Recovery Plan is not the only answer London needs at this time."

Jenny Jones (Green Press release) said...

Jenny Jones today challenged the London Mayor for re-announcing existing funding and repackaging previous measures in his Economic Recovery Action Plan.

The Plan announces £33 million of new money for business support – but £23 million of this was already announced a week ago. Similarly, the Plan claims “the £130 million Targeted Funding Stream” will be used to “help vulnerable householders improve the energy efficiency of their homes”– but much of this funding stream has already been committed for other programmes.

Jenny Jones commented:

The Mayor seriously underestimates the scale of the economic crisis facing London. At a time when there is urgent need of concerted action to protect jobs and increase affordability, the Mayor’s plan rehashes existing policies and re-announces current funding.

The proposals will do nothing to make ordinary Londoners better off.

Concerted action from the GLA could create thousands of much-needed jobs in low carbon industries – from home insulation fitters to designers and high-tech factory workers. Yet the Mayor’s plans in this area remain weak, vague and underfunded. Instead of economic recovery, this is a plan for a missed opportunity.

Mark Lee said...

Just FYI - in case you were getting the £2.86 from my post on Boris Watch - that's if you are Band A *and* have a 25% discount for living on your own...

The Troll said...

Thanks Mark. I have amended the post to make that clear.

Chris said...

It's probably worth pointing out that this is almost exactly the same trick that they pulled over in Hammersmith and Fulham. Council tax was frozen and then cut (saving each family a few quid a year) and then charges and fees were put up even more to pay for it. The result is that residents in the biggest properties get the biggest reward and the residents in poorer properties who are typically more reliant on the services with the raised charges suffer the most.

The Troll said...

Good point Chris although It's not just a matter of raising charges, but also a matter of hitting people in the public sector as well.