Friday, 22 October 2010

George Osborne scraps London Development Agency

Further evidence of the dire settlement Boris Johnson negotiated from government comes with the news that the London Development Agency is going to be scrapped along with all of it's funding.

Dozens of organisations and projects central to the capital's future are under threat today after the London Development Agency's £480 million budget was axed.

The surprise move leaves Boris Johnson having to make up the funding shortfall from Whitehall departments.

The move to fold the LDA, the Mayor's economic regeneration body, in-house to City Hall was widely expected. But the Standard has learnt that the Treasury has decided to go a step further and wipe out the LDA's huge annual budget over the next four years.

The LDA has long been on the chopping block, but City Hall had briefed that most of it's funding would be distributed elsewhere.

However, this was either untrue, or the Mayor has simply been caught unawares:

"A senior LDA source said: “The Treasury seems to have pulled the rug out from under us. We expected to be merged but the plan was for the majority of funding to remain in place.”

A City Hall insider said: “The LDA without the money is nothing. No money means we'll just have to close it.”

He is now belatedly pledging to "fight this all the way."

But given the success of his "Stalingrad-like defence" of the Transport budget, I don't think anyone will be holding their breath.

-Update- Green London Assembly Member Darren Johnson said today:

"The Mayor's plans to create 14,000 jobs, cut our energy bills, improve recycling facilities and revitalise our parks could all be under threat. London can do without some of the LDA's work on international promotion, but we cannot afford to lose these pivotal environment and job creation projects. The Mayor must make the Treasury back down. Cuts of this scale would make the Mayor impotent in the face of the looming climate threat, and will seriously undermine his efforts to make London a nicer city to live in."

1 comment:

Barry Rochford said...

This seems to be about right for Boris. Whinge about London being different, but do nothing to defend the bodies thast Londonneeds to develop, as Darren Johnson says.
Why he's wasting time with Boris Island, rather than fighting for small businesses, I don't know.
Get the feeling he doesn't know what he's doing ......