Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 14:32 UK

Freeze for GLA council tax share

Mayor of London Boris Johnson gives his speech to the Conservative Party
Boris Johnson was speaking at the Conservative Party conference

The mayor of London Boris Johnson has said he will freeze the Greater London Authority's (GLA) share of the council tax bill for a second year.

It will mean the GLA's precept for 2010/11 will remain at £309.82 a year for a typical band D property.

Speaking at the Tory Party conference, he pledged £5bn worth of savings from Transport for London over nine years.

The London Assembly Labour group said the mayor would rather be "conference hero" than of service to Londoners.

'Tough decisions'

Mr Johnson claimed he could make the savings by reducing "office" costs, restructuring and more efficient working.

Speaking at the conference in Manchester, he said: "We have frozen our share of the council tax last year and we are going to freeze again next year as well.

"That is what Conservative government is all about."

Mr Johnson said the "tough decisions about public spending" he had made in London could form a blueprint for a Conservative government.

'Personal ambition'

He said 180 jobs at City Hall had been cut, there had been a 30% reduction in the headcount at the London Development Agency and London Underground had already shed 1,000 backroom staff.

Other measures included savings on consultants and accommodation which contributed to a £5bn saving in Transport for London's (TfL) budget.

Labour's deputy leader on the London Assembly, John Biggs, said: "Boris's desire to be a conference hero is clearly more important to him than the service of Londoners.

"He needs to be sure that promoting his personal ambition does not come at the cost of ill-thought through, headline-grabbing cuts to the services he was elected to provide."

Bob Crown, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said: "You cannot claw back £5bn from the TfL budget without having a dramatic impact on services. There is a very real danger that key service developments could be put at risk in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

"RMT will of course fight back against any attacks on our members and the services that they provide for Londoners."

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