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 You are in: Special Report: 1998: London Referendum
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Thursday, 9 April, 1998, 15:08 GMT
Guide to the government's London blueprint


Under the government's proposals published in March the new Greater London Authority (GLA) would be made up of a mayor, an assembly of 25 members and a small staff. It would cover the area of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London.

The GLA would have a budget of around 3bn to spend on transport, protecting the environment, planning, the police and fire services and economic regeneration in the capital. The mayor would control ...

Police Authority

A new police authority would be created with half its members appointed from the assembly by the mayor.

Fire and Emergency Planning Authority

Responsible for the fire but not the ambulance service. Assembly members and borough representatives would be appointed to the authority by the mayor.

Transport

London's 18,000 taxis will come under the Mayor's control
A new body - Transport for London - would control the London Underground and London buses and be responsible for taxis, most main roads and the Docklands Light Railway.

Economic regeneration

The mayor would run the new London Development Agency made up of business people and borough representatives to attract new investment and create new jobs. He or she would also set the overall planning development of the capital.

Other duties

He or she would play a leading role in developing London's tourism, culture and sport. There would be a role to promote the improvement of the health of Londoners but no power to take over the running of health services in the capital.

The mayor would also choose a deputy mayor from the assembly.

The assembly

The assembly would act as a check and balance on the mayor's activities. It would have the power to approve or amend the mayor's budget and assist in policy development. Assembly members would be on the boards of the new authorities.

If Londoners say yes to the government's proposals for a mayor and assembly, all the representatives will be elected by the year 2000.

Electing the mayor - the supplementary vote system

Everyone will vote for a first and second choice
On the ballot paper voters will mark X by their top two candidates. Anyone winning more than 50% of the first choice votes becomes mayor.

If nobody gets a majority, only the top two stay in the race. All the losers' second choice votes are redistributed to find the overall winner.

Electing the assembly

Fourteen of the members will be elected by the first past the post system used to elect Members of Parliament. A system of proportional representation would be adopted to elect the rest.

The remaining 11 will be London-wide seats divided according to the percentage of votes each party has won.

The GLA will cost around 20m a year. The money will come partly from council tax and partly from a government grant.

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