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Ken Livingstone's spending plans would cost every London council tax payer £348

By Matthew Barrett
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Can't Afford KenA new report released today by the Back Boris campaign reveals the impact every family in London will face if Ken Livingstone was to win this May's mayoral election - £348 in council tax increases, and an increase in the Congestion Charge.

The report, entitled "Can't Afford Ken", notes that Livingstone has made 24 spending promises that cost more money than is in the budget. These spending commitments have been made either in public speeches or in documents after he was selected as Labour’s candidate. They include a transport fare cut, a pledge to replace the withdrawn EMA scheme, a London-wide lettings agency, an "Air Quality Improvement Fund", a "Cinema Discount Card" for young people, and, bizarrely, a party in Trafalgar Square just for the Portuguese-speaking diaspora.

The report projects the total cost of the 24 pledges over four years to be £2.7bn, with the cost estimates based on public sources, Labour's own estimates, or independent estimates. To raise this amount of money, Livingstone would need to find more funds from the council tax precept, and more revenue from TfL.

The report says Livingstone would have to raise an extra £348, or £87.08 every year, from every Band D household to pay for his promises. As well as raising council taxes, which would only cover £1.1bn of the extra public spending Livingstone wants to create, the report says he would have to raise money by either putting the Congestion Charge up to £15, or creating new congestion charging zones altogether.

This is in stark contrast to Boris Johnson, who is freezing council tax rates, and cutting Congestion Charge costs.

The full report can be downloaded here (pdf).