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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 14:06 GMT
More police in 2008, says mayor
Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone says crime in London is at eight-year low
The London Mayor has announced his budget proposals for 2008 will allow for a rise in police numbers and more investment in the city's fire services.

Ken Livingstone said the proposals included an increase in the Greater London Authority's council tax precept of just 2.4% or 14p per week.

He said the increase was possible due to savings across GLA organisations.

But Brian Coleman, Conservative budget spokesman, said the increase is above the official inflation rate of 2.1%.

'Total disgrace'

Speaking at the meeting of the London Assembly, Mr Livingstone said the increase was well below the current RPI inflation rate of 4.2%.

He said: "I am very pleased that I have been able to maintain and enhance my programme of investment in London's key public services while keeping the council tax increase to well under inflation.

"Continued investment in more police on London's streets will keep up the downward pressure on crime which is now at an eight-year low having fallen for four years in a row by a total of 15%."

But Mr Coleman criticised Mr Livingstone for foisting an above-inflation GLA precept increase on Londoners.

He said: "This is a further increase to a precept that has grown by 153%, or 188, since the GLA was formed in 2000, 20 of which is entirely due to the cost of the Olympics.

"Originally priced at 2.6bn, its costs have rocketed to 9.3bn, which is a total disgrace.

"Now the mayor is trying to tell Londoners that this budget represents a below-inflation increase. It does not.

"In fact a 2.4% increase is above the official inflation rate of 2.1%. This is an above-inflation increase."

Liberal Democrat London Assembly leader Mike Tuffrey said: "In the last seven years the mayor has pushed up his council tax two and a half times. Londoners should not be fooled. If re-elected in May 2008, Ken Livingstone will demand inflation-busting increases again."


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