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Eighteenth Report of the Mayor of London to the London Assembly

This is my eighteenth report to the Assembly, fulfilling my duty under Section 45 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. It covers the period from 5 December 2001 to 8 January 2002.

Transport
Budget Update
Tourism
Metropolitan Police
Planning and Development Control
International Links
Culture
Stakeholders
Mayoral Strategies
Health
Organisation and Building
Key engagements

Transport

Fares
At the start of the New Year, I announced that the freeze on the real level of London Underground fares and freeze on bus fares will continue for a second year. Under the new fares from 6 January 2002 bus fares are frozen - representing a reduction in real terms - and Underground fare rises are limited to the rate of inflation.

Between 1986 and 2000 in real terms tube fares rose by a massive 44 per cent and bus fares by 18 per cent. In contrast my policy has been to hold down fares in order to encourage people to transfer to public transport, particularly buses. Since my election in May 2000, I have held tube fares constant in real terms, and reduced bus fares in real terms. As a result bus rider-ship has risen substantially - with passenger use up 6 per cent overall, the highest level since 1975, and night bus use up 16 per cent. I hope that this year's fare changes will continue this trend.

From Sunday 6 January 2002, the main fare changes are as follows:

  • No bus or tram fares will increase
  • All Zones Bus Pass Season price cut again
    The weekly All-Zones ticket price is reduced from £9.50 to £8.50, the same as the current Zone 2+3+4 ticket which is withdrawn. Monthly and longer period ticket prices are reduced in proportion.
  • Zone restrictions removed for Travelcard use on buses
    Any Travelcard will be valid on any bus, regardless of the Underground zones it covers.
  • Average Underground fares frozen in real terms
    The Zone 1 single fare increases to £1.60, having been held at £1.50 last year. The Zone 1 Carnet price is unchanged at £11.50 for ten tickets £1.15 per journey).
  • A new Day Travelcard is introduced
    Like the existing One Day Travelcard, this will be valid on Underground, DLR, Tramlink, bus and National Rail services, but it can be used for the whole day. (The One Day Travelcard which will still be available cannot be used before 9.30am on weekdays). Various zone combinations of the new ticket will be available. Some zonal variations of the existing One Day LT Card will be withdrawn. The Day Travelcard will cost, for example, £5.30 Zones 1+2, compared to £4.10 off peak One Day Travelcard.

Rail
At the beginning of December I attended the start of construction ceremony for the northern extension of the East London Line. This phase of work will see the ELL extended from Whitechapel, via new stations at Bishopsgate, Hoxton, Haggerston and Dalston, to link with national rail network lines towards Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park. Powers have also recently been granted by the Secretary of State to extend the East London southwards in two directions running towards Wimbledon, Crystal Palace and West Croydon. Work on all lines is scheduled for completion by 2006.

On 17 January 2002 I will be attending the launch of Cross London Rail Links - a joint venture company between TfL and the SRA that will see the vision of the Crossrail project become a reality. Sir Christopher Benson, as Chairman, will steer the consultation process before deciding on the optimum route, stations and service patterns for both the east-west and Hackney-south west Crossrail routes.

Light Rail/River Crossings
TfL is pressing ahead with plans for a tunnel to carry the DLR under the river from North Woolwich to Woolwich Arsenal south of the river. Further consultation on the fine details of the whole scheme will be undertaken early this year, with construction work planned to start in 2004 and to finish mid-2007. TfL will also be consulting later next year on plans for two other Thames crossings: one between Barking and Thamesmead and another linking North Greenwich and Silvertown.

We are also awaiting the announcement of the Transport and Works Act giving the go-ahead for the DLR to be extended to London City Airport.

Congestion Charging
As part of the continuing consultation process, TfL has proposed to widen the alternative fuels discount to cover vans, lorries and cars that meet specified emissions standards. TfL has also recommended that recovery vehicles used by the likes of the AA, Green Flag and the RAC should receive a 100% discount. Under these proposals, mini-cabs once licensed would not have to pay the charge, providing more transport choice for Londoners. I am due to make further announcements on Congestion Charging Scheme in February.

Walking
I am also committed to making London a better city for pedestrians. Working with TfL, I will establish a rationale for a Walking Plan by the end of 2002, agree a funding model and implement the Plan by 2015.

TfL is currently facilitating the development of six strategic walking routes and enlisting key stakeholders in the development of the Plan. These routes are: The London Outer Orbital Path, The Capital Ring, The Thames Path National Trail, The Jubilee Walkway, The South-East Green Chain and The Lee Valley Walk. All members of the community will be given a voice on the consultative process.

Transport Policing Initiative
I have had further meetings with Bob Kiley, the MPS Commissioner, Sir John Stevens and Lord Harris, to discuss the proposed implementation of a Transport Operational Command Unit within the Metropolitan Police. The objectives of this dedicated unit are to enable the efficient movement of buses on agreed bus corridors through enforcement activities, to provide reassurance to the public and staff by providing high visibility policing and enforcing the law relating to taxi and private hire enforcement. The funding of this unit, if agreed, will come from the TfL budget.

London Buses
In January this year I published my criteria for granting London Service Permits which announced that bus operators in London, who are not part of TfL's London Bus Network will be asked to prove their green credentials. The permit allows TfL to decide conditions for running services such as tourism, hotel transfer, private school buses - they will need to satisfy London Buses that their vehicles comply with exhaust emission requirements and that they have strategies in place to further reduce them.

London River Services
In January this year I announced that a new passenger pier is to be built at Millbank to create a direct transport link between Tate Modern and Tate Britain. This new pier will also create yet another additional river stop for commuters. Millbank Millennium Pier is due to open in Autumn 2002.

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Budget update

Budget 2002-03
Following consultation with the GLA and the functional bodies I formally prepared their draft budgets in accordance with the requirements of the GLA Act on 14 December. Wider consultation on my budget proposals then began with the issue of the document: Greater London Authority - Budget Requirement and Precepts 2002-03. All Members of the Assembly have all been provided with a copy.

I will finally determine the contents of the draft consolidated budget following proper consideration of the responses received. This draft budget will be presented to the Assembly on 23 January in the form of a detailed report, including among other things an explanation of and justification for the budgetary provisions sought and my response to issues raised during the consultation exercise.

My proposed draft budget continues the investment in public services which I started last year, including the largest programme of investment in transport improvements for many years. There are also be resources for about 1,240 more police officers, over and above the increase of 1,050 agreed for this year.

A key proposal is to bring together the Metropolitan Police Service and Transport for London in partnership to deliver a modern enforcement strategy for London's buses and taxis. This will ensure the efficient movement of buses, combat crime and make the public feel safe using bus services on key routes and corridors, as well enforcing the law relating to the licensing of taxis and private hire vehicles.

The investment in services and ensuring that they are accessible to all and available equally to London's citizens is, however, not matched by the increase in grants from central government grant. It is therefore not possible to deliver this investment without increasing the contribution from council tax payers.

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Tourism

The Greatest Show on Earth
On 5 December, as part of the continuing drive to assist the tourist industry in London, I launched the Greatest Show on Earth, unveiling a celebrity chorus-line poster to publicise London's largest ever theatre and restaurant promotion. A half a million pound cash injection will provide a minimum of 60,000 subsidised tickets at £10, £15 and £20, representing a minimum saving of £17 per theatre ticket. Free tickets will also be distributed to selected organisations for young, disabled and older people.

The half a million pounds theatre ticket promotion is part of a four million pound package secured the London Tourism Action Group for businesses badly affected by the events of September 11. £1 million of this has already been awarded to help the worst-hit businesses in the capital's tourism industry. An additional £2million of support and promotion has been generated as a result of the initial £500, 000 cash injection.

The promotion ran from 10 to 22 December and runs again from the 7 January to 17 February and applies to over 30 of London's best shows and productions, offering people some of the best seats in the house.

Actors, comedians, models and celebrity chefs, including Linda Gray, Sophie Dahl and Dame Judi Dench, gave their time to be photographed individually for a 200 foot long poster. Celebrities including Brian Blessed, Joan Collins and Miriam Margoyles joined with me to unveil a copy of the poster at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

The theatre ticket promotion is intended to entice people back into the West End to enjoy some of the best and most exciting theatre in the world at cut prices. I am also delighted that ninety of London's leading restaurants and the Hilton Hotels in London have joined in to offer people a great time in central London.

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Metropolitan Police

I have passed on my congratulations to Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, in light of the latest police recruitment figures released on 18 December, The national figures released by the Home Office, state that the MPS gained 680 officers (2.8%) bringing the number of police officers up to 25, 374 for the year up to September 2001. This was the largest increase in England and Wales.

The MPS figures also show a 48% rise in recruitment in the first seven intakes of 2001-2 compared with the same period last year.

A year ago I promised Londoners that my proposed budget would lead to an increase of more than 1000 police officers this financial year. The announcement shows that the Met Police's current campaign is on the right track. I have reaffirmed my commitment for the recruitment of a further 1000 officers and support the Commissioner's drive in getting a police service which reflects the racial and cultural diversity of London.

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Planning and Development Control

Planning decisions (Stage Two referrals)
I have sent letters in response to the following statutory referrals:

Empress State Building, West Brompton
I have written to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham stating that I would not direct refusal of this application.

Land South of Auriol Drive, Greenford
I have written to the London Borough of Ealing stating that I would not direct refusal of this application.

Planning Decisions (Stage One referrals)
I have asked officers to send letters giving my comments about the following stage one referrals:

· Southwood Site, Greenwich
· Southwark Station, Blackfriars Road
· 211 Long Lane, Southwark
· Addington Place, Croydon
· Land adjacent to Croydon Park Hotel, Croydon
· Indescon Court, 20 Millharbour
· Byng Street/ Westferry Road, Tower Hamlets
· St Vincent's Hospital, Pinner
· Distillers Co Ltd, Chequers Lane, Dagenham
· Former Chelsea Metals Ltd, Barking
· 39-42 Portman Square, Westminster
· Hadley House, Uxbridge Road
· Norheads Farm, Biggin Hill

Any Assembly members seeking a copy of a planning report should contact Hannah Elliott on x 4265.

The Dome
I welcomed the announcement on 18 December on the future of the Dome site in Greenwich. The Meridian Delta Ltd bid can substantially contribute to the regeneration of Greenwich and the entire Thames Gateway region. The MDL scheme has the potential to deliver a high-quality, mixed-use quarter in the Peninsula, centred around a new leisure role for the Dome and East London along with new diversified employment space and substantial amounts of housing.

I look forward to working with MDL and English Partnerships to ensure the scheme provides the maximum benefits for the region and meets my policy aspirations for transport improvements, social and community facilities, affordable housing and environmental measures.

Wembley
I have welcomed the decision by the Football Association on the 19 December to build the national football stadium at Wembley.

Retaining the national football stadium at Wembley was the only viable option, and the decision confirmed the case that London has put from day one. Only a stadium in London can secure the premium seating required to make it work financially in the long-term.

All parties now need to work together to ensure that Wembley is a success. Central to this is to reinstate the plans for the re-build of Wembley Park tube station which appear to have been dropped in favour of only superficial improvements. A modern stadium, encouraging spectators to come by tube and train, and guaranteeing a smooth, quick exit at the end of a match or concert, requires the extra capacity from the full station restructuring. Failure to do so will gridlock the surrounding roads and make leaving by tube more difficult than it needs to be. London Underground told the London Development Agency last summer that the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions had to include the station rebuild in its proposals for the Public Private Partnership of the tube. The DTLR has not done so.

There is still time to put the Wembley Park rebuild back into London Underground's long-term business plan and Ministers must now reinstate the full £90 million to rebuild the station in order to make this good news a long-term success.

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International Links

Visit to Dublin
On 14 December, I visited Dublin as part of my commitment to strengthening ties between London and the Irish capital and to discuss plans for St Patrick's Day 2002.

I met with Councillor Michael Mulcahy, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, and attended the opening of the Live Animal Crib outside Mansion House. We attended a business event at the K-Club, Straffan, Co. Kildare, to raise awareness for the plans for St Patrick's Day 2002 in London. I also attended a business event hosted by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

As a world city London's dynamism stems from the many communities that have made their home here. London's Irish community has contributed to the social, cultural and economic life of London over many, many generations and is the largest single minority group in London. I want this historic role to be recognised.

This year, for the first time, the Greater London Authority will officially be celebrating St Patrick's Day in London. I would like to see St Patrick's Day become an attraction along the lines of those seen in the United States and am working with London's Irish community to develop it into a cultural celebration for Londoners and tourists alike. The plans incorporate the traditional service in Westminster Cathedral, followed by parade along Victoria Street, through Whitehall and finishing with a music and cultural event on Trafalgar Square.

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Culture

Eid celebrations
On 16 December I switched on the green lights installed on the tower at Canary Wharf in celebration of Eid on Sunday 16 December. The illuminations, which will remain until 2 January, mark the first day that the new moon can be viewed from Mecca, and the end of Ramadan.

I welcomed this opportunity to wish Londoners a happy Eid. Eid-ul-Fitr is a day of great joy and festivity for all Muslims coming after a whole month of fasting and abstinence. It symbolises compassion and care for people. Canary Wharf is an important part of London's skyline and lighting the tower for Eid reminds us that sharing the joy in each others' festivals is one way for London's communities to celebrate our diversity and stand together.

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Stakeholders

Standing Together Against Intolerance
I have approved funding to support work on Islamophobia and race hate crime to be undertaken through the London Civic Forum. The project will build on the success of the Standing Together against Intolerance event held in October last year, with all major faiths pledging tolerance and mutual understanding.

The focus of the work will be to promote effective action against hate crime and develop community partnerships to combat race hate crime and Islamophobia. The work will also seek to incorporate the implementation of the recommendations of the Report of the Runnymede Trust Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia.

A report will be produced and the work will be incorporated into the activities around respect week later this year.

The London Partnerships Register
Couples will have the opportunity to record their relationships in the London Partnerships Register on 14 February, St Valentine's Day. The register is usually only signed on Wednesdays and Saturdays. With St Valentine's Day falling on a Thursday this year, London couples will have the chance to register their partnerships on this day.

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Mayoral Strategies

Waste Strategy
On 20 December I launched a hard-hitting cinema ad which reveals thatr staggering tonne of litter is dropped in London every minute. The ad, which has the slogan 'Dropping Litter Ruins Lives', reminds people what an anti-social habit dropping litter is and is aimed mainly at teenagers. More than a million people saw the ad, which was screened before Lord of the Rings on 530 screens over Christmas.

Dropping litter is a dirty and expensive habit which costs more than £100m a year to clean up. I hope this ad makes people think twice about dropping litter and use bins. The ad is the first stage in my campaign to clean up the capital. The leaders of London's 33 boroughs have agreed to participate in a 'Capital Standard Campaign', which I first set out in my draft waste strategy. This is a sustained initiative to improve the cleanliness of the streets over the next four years.

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Health

Megapoles Project
I have agreed to the offer from the European Commission for funding for the Megapoles project. An initial bid for funding for the project was made in January 2001 in conjunction with the London Regional Office of the NHS and was revised later in the year. The project will look at the issue of alcohol and young people under 25 and will be funded over a period of 18 months. Findings and recommendations will be fed into national and broader EU policy development.

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Organisation and Building

Contract for Moving to City Hall
I have approved the contract for the management of the GLA move to City Hall in the summer. After a two-stage tendering process, the contract has been awarded to Edes.

Ordnance Survey Service Level Agreement
I have approved an agreement with Ordnance Survey for the supply of geographic datasets for the GLA and functional bodies. The GLA family have a strategic requirement for cartographic information which allows analysis of information to be located within the geographic framework of Greater London. Some of the information is specific to the national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey. The datasets are of value to the GLA and functional bodies for use across a range of strategies. Therefore I have agreed to a service level agreement for the supply of information over a three year period.

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Key engagements

Other key engagements over the past month have included:

  • I attended the East London Line start of works ceremony in Dalston on 6 December
  • I spoke at the City Renewal and Health Conference and attended the Dinner at the Mansion House on 6 December
  • I met with the Lord Mayor of Dublin on 6 December
  • I addressed the Building for the 21st Century Conference on10 December
  • I met with the Sir John Stevens, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service and Toby Harris, the Chair of the MPA on 10 December
  • I attended the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership meeting on 11 December
  • I met with Richard Rogers on 11 December
  • I met with Sir Peter Davis, Chairman of Sainsbury's on 11 December
  • I met with London Labour MPs on 11 December
  • I attended the Asian Business reception on 11 December
  • I met with Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Transport Local Government and the Regions on 12 December
  • I met with John Spellar, Minister for Transport on 13 December
  • I visited Dublin on 14 December
  • I attended the Eid celebration at Canary Wharf on 16 December
  • I opened Sainsbury's London Food Centre on 17 December
  • I spoke at the Learning the lessons from New York conference on 17 December
  • I met with Glenda Jackson, my Cabinet advisor on Homelessness on 18 December
  • I attended the London Film Commission reception on 19 December
  • I attended the Civil Contingencies Committee meeting on 20 December
  • I spoke at the London Government Dinner at the Mansion House on 3 January
  • I met with the ALG cross-party group about the Budget on 8 January
  • I met with Nick Raynsford, Minister for London on 8 January

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Ken Livingstone
8 January 2002

 
 
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