Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Budget Day - Part One

I'm off to City Hall this morning to watch the London Assembly wave through Boris Johnson's budget. 

The Assembly do a pretty good job of scrutinising and holding the Mayor to account, but they are basically powerless. 

The only real power they do have is to amend Boris's budget and for some reason best known to Tony Blair, they need a (non-existent) two thirds majority to even do that.

Like much of what goes on in City Hall, the budget is pretty dry stuff, but also very important. 

It may not fill the headlines now, but the choices Boris makes here will affect everything from how you get to work next year, to the health of your family in years to come.

Now I've been (rightly) upbraided on these pages for not yet covering Boris's decision to scrap the expansion of the Low Emission Zone scheme.

This decision, buried under a snow drift, may end up having more impact on our future health than any smoking ban or advertising restriction.

And no matter what headline-grabbing moves he makes on knife crime, this decision, along with the rephasing of London's traffic lights, will have a incalculably bigger impact on the safety and health of our kids in years to come.

But they're complicated, long-term, and (here's the crucial bit) invisible issues so you won't be reading too much about them any time soon.

And unlike the big boys it's a one-man operation here so I don't always have the time or the insight to cover all of the most important stories.

For that I need your help. And without the help of a band of informers, politicians, civil servants and all-purpose know-alls, this blog probably wouldn't still be going almost a year after I started it.

So if you know something I don't, then please don't hesitate to drop me a line

You may think that what you know is too technical, complicated or simply too much of a throwaway scrap of information, but it's from these scraps that stories come.

Right, I'm off to City Hall now. Report back soon...


AdamB said...

Image of Lib Dems campaigning against Boris's abandonment of LEZ borrowed from Jo Shaw

North Briton said...

It is a shame quite how impotent the London Assembly is. But its good to see the Home Affairs select committee having a go at Boris after his shoddy appearance before them last week.

Anonymous said...

I think that you mean "wave through" (like a policeman indicates that you can go through with a wave of the hand).

"Waive" means give up, foresake, throw away. Unfortunately our elected representatives often waive their right to hold the executive to account, even when they've got it.


AdamB said...

Yes I wavered over which word to use and came down on the wrong side. Ho hum.