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Boris tells George Osborne: If I can find savings in London, you can find savings in Whitehall

DSC05256 After entering the conference hall to the theme tune to EastEnders (having appeared on the show last week), London Mayor Boris Johnson gave a typically confident speech to the conference in which he said that if he was able to find savings in London after eight years of the Livingstone regime, then David Cameron and George Osborne (whom he named specifically) could do the same with the country:

"If we can cut cost in City Hall, George then you can cut cost in Whitehall as you promise to do."

He added, referring to the recent story about how a pair of female police officers discovered they were not allowed to babysit for each other "unless they both secured OFSTED credentials in baby-sitting":

"Get rid of the nonsense, but don't chop the investments essential to the UK economy; Cut the baby-sitting monitors, but don't cut Crossrail; Cut the baby-sitting monitor human resources department, but don't cut the tube upgrades; Cut the baby-sitting monitor equal opportunities action day but don't cut the great projects and investments that will deliver jobs and growth now and make London more attractive for generations to come."

Boris has confirmed that he will be freezing the GLA precept on Londoners' council tax bills - ie a real terms cut - for the second year running and says that he will now save an extra £5 billion over nine years at Transport for London, and Paul Waugh highlights some of the savings Boris is trumpeting there on his blog:

*Cutting 1,000 admin jobs have gone at London Underground following the integration with Metronet, saving £570 million
* Cutting "several hundred" more posts elsewhere across TfL
* Saving £220 million from consultants bills
* £400 million from switching to more efficient computer systems
* £130 million from moving staff out of central London to cheaper premises in Southwark and North Greenwich.
* £185 million from re-negotiating the Oyster ticketing contract alone. A further £240 million from changes to contracts linked to the c-charge and low emission zone
* £200 million cut in marketing and press budget, redirected to fund extra police on Tubes and buses.
* Pay for senior staff has been frozen and bonuses cut, and the pay settlement for most staff will "reflect the economic realities being faced by millions of Londoners".

He also used the speech to insist that he would oppose high taxation as it would make the City of London less competitive:

"I will oppose high marginal rates of taxation because they failed in the miserable 1970s, because they yield tiny sums of revenue and because they only serve to drive away talent."

Jonathan Isaby


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