Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 15:59 UK

Cash for new rape crisis centre

A man beating a woman
Critics said the mayor's plans have not been properly evaluated

London's mayor has announced cash for a new rape crisis centre amid claims he has "broken promises" to victims of sexual attacks.

Boris Johnson has pledged £375,000 over three years to run the centre in Ealing, west London.

The money comes from £1.4m set aside earlier this year as part of his drive to combat violence against women.

But critics say the measures fail to meet the £744,000 a year he promised to rape victims before coming to power.

'Not enough'

Mr Johnson said: "It is staggering that there was just one rape crisis centre for a city of seven million people.

The mayor said he would provide over £2m and until he does that it just looks like he's betraying those to whom he made promises
Val Shawcross, London Assembly member

"Today we are taking the first steps to redress that injustice."

Another £260,000 is going to the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre helpline in Croydon, south London.

Mr Johnson also plans to open two more rape crisis centres in east and north London.

Critics said his proposals did not go far enough.

During his election campaign, Mr Johnson promised a total of £2.23m for rape crisis centres over three years - £744,000 a year.

However, at a London Assembly budget committee meeting in November, it was revealed only £233,000 a year has been budgeted.

"While of course any moves to improve and increase the support for rape victims is welcome, the funding announced today does not come close to what Boris promised during his election campaign," said Val Shawcross, Labour London Assembly member.

Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse

Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse denies the original pledge was miscalculated

"He said he would provide over £2m and until he does that it just looks like he's betraying those to whom he made promises when he wanted their vote."

Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse denied that the mayor miscalculated the original £2.23m figure.

He said other local authorities subsequently pledged more than anticipated so less money was required from the mayor.

Mr Malthouse said: "We built into the election promise a safety margin on the basis that we weren't convinced we were going to get the co-operation from other parts of London."

He added: "We are very pleased to say that local authorities have rallied to the cause and agreed to join us in funding some of those centres.

"That means we are able to deliver them for less money to the taxpayer."



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