Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat London Assembly housing spokesperson, commenting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s proposals for housing in London which were announced in today’s Spending Review said:
“The Government’s housing policies are ultimately flawed as they are stoking demand, when the real issue is the lack of supply of affordable housing.
“If the Chancellor really wants to ensure there are more affordable homes to buy and rent he should be encouraging the Mayor to prudentially borrow and directly undertake a massive increase in house building of truly affordable homes.”
“Critically the Chancellor should also drop his damaging proposals to sell off housing association properties.
“Across London people in social housing are being aggressively targeted to buy their properties and then sell up. The outcome of this policy will be a massive contraction in the supply of affordable homes and London becoming a place where even people on moderate incomes are crowded out.”
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement in today’s Treasury Spending Review that police spending will now rise in line with inflation said:
“It is welcome news that commonsense has obviously now prevailed and that serious plans to slash the grant to the Metropolitan Police Service have now been dropped by government.
“The challenge is now on the Mayor to also back down on his dangerous plans to scrap nearly every Police Community Support Officer in London, plans that would devastate neighborhood policing in our city."
• New report reveals the scale of knife crime in London
• Westminster politicians overlooked knife crime during the recent General Election
• A range of policies rarely considered by Westminster politicians are now needed to make London safer for young people
Westminster politicians are hiding from the real facts about the level of knife crime in London and its impact on young people, is the hard hitting finding of a new report on knife crime undertaken by the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon.
Statistics gathered by the London Assembly Member reveal that during the six-week General Election period (26th March – 8th May) there were in London 789 recorded victims of serious youth violence, 1231 victims of knife crime and 441 victims of knife crime with injury. During this period there were the equivalent of 40 reported victims of knife crime a day, every day over the six week period. Yet during this critical period of public debate the issue of knife crime hardly got mentioned by Westminster politicians. Caroline Pidgeon’s report, based on extensive research and consultation with organisations such as The Ben Kinsella Trust and the charity Redthread puts forward 10 practical recommendations to effectively tackle knife crime, including:
• Taking the message about the need to tackle knife crime into every school in London - schools that overlook knife crime are ultimately not helping their children.
• The full implementation of the Cardiff Model, where anonymous data collected through A&E departments of knife offences is immediately shared with the police – leading to far more effective policing
• Greater funding for Redthread and other organisations that provide dedicated youth workers who focus on intervention in every London A&E
• The MPS making greater use of knife arches and handheld metal detectors, using data collected by A&E Departments which identify knife
• Calling for the Mayor of London to review and renew his anti-gang strategy
• Introduce a multi-agency mental health approach should be taken to supporting people affected by knife crime
Following the latest horrific stabbings at a school in West Dulwich involving two teenage boys Caroline Pidgeon commented: “In London over the last decade 125 young people have been fatally stabbed on our streets. This alone is a devastating statistic but we should also remember that for every young person who is murdered another 20 are admitted to hospital with knife offences.
“The Mayor and Westminster politicians can no longer claim that current policies are working when knife crime with injury offences rose by 14% in the last year.
“It is time we finally recognised just how serious knife crime is on the lives of young people. “We need to redouble our efforts to prevent such violence on our streets. The policies of simply responding to knife crime are neither adequate or effective.”
“We need real action not rhetoric to tackle the scourge of knife crime across London’.
Download the full report here (large file, about 2MB, will take a little while to load)
The Mayor has today said he will consider a rush hour ban of HGVs on London’s roads following questioning at City Hall today by Caroline Pidgeon AM, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson.
Today’s questioning of the Mayor followed the presentation at City Hall of a petition organised by the London Cycling Campaign signed by over 13,000 people, calling for a rush hour ban on HGVs, better designed lorry cabs and stronger enforcement on current safety standards.
Commenting on the Mayor’s response Caroline said:
“It is a harsh fact that 40% of cycle fatalities involving lorries occur between 8am and 9.30 am. Getting lorries off London’s roads at rush hour would obviously be a challenge but the prize of safer roads would be huge.”
“We also need to have a very special focus on addressing the dangers specifically created by construction lorries. Direct vision lorry cabs and other safety standards are essential for lorries operating on London’s roads.”
“The Mayor must now respond very soon to the many recommendations for improved road safety that are now before him.”
Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on the Mayor’s replies to extensive questioning he faced at today’s Mayor’s Question Time on ‘dieselgate’ and theuse of ‘defeat device’ software to manipulate emission test vehicles said:
“Today the Mayor has admitted he hasn’t got a clue as to how many diesel cars are on London’s roads that have software creating fiddled emission results.
“However an even bigger issue is the message that the Mayor is currently sending out to people purchasing cars over the next few years.
“At present the Mayor and TfL know full well that Euro 6 diesels are not actually clean, but are still planning to permit them to enter the Ultra Low Emission Zone for free after 2020.
“”The Mayor should admit past mistakes and now say that we are no longer going to put a badge of ‘ultra low-emission’ on a set of vehicles that are in reality nothing of the sort.”
“The only vehicles that should count as ultra-low-emission compliant should be vehicles tested in real-world tests. In practice it would give absolute clarity to car-drivers and fleet-owners to simply say that the ULEZ will be diesel free.”
“If the Mayor fails to take that step he might as well change the name of the Ultra Low Emission Zone to simply the ‘slightly lower emission zone’.
Notes to editors:
Details of today’s Mayor’s Question Time and Stephen Knight’s questioning to the Mayor can be seen at https://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/london-assembly/webcasts starting at 38 minutes into the recording.
Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat London Assembly economic spokesperson, commenting on today’s announcement on permitted development rights for office buildings said:
“I am shocked at the Mayor of London’s enthusiastic support for these changes.
“The announcement might keep in place respite for the City of London and the London Central Activities Zone, but it will force businesses out of London’s many town centres, especially in outer London.
“The big picture that the Mayor is ignoring is that permitted development rights are now being made permanent, when instead the whole policy should have been stopped. No longer will developers have to provide affordable housing at part of their schemes.
“It was regrettable that planning powers were ever taken away from London Boroughs leading to commercial sites being able to convert to residential use without any need to seek planning permission or provide affordable homes. The policy is leading to town centres having businesses and jobs ripped out of them by homes that don’t require planning permission so are often lacking in minimum standards, let alone providing any affordable homes, or other social infrastructure such as schools.
“London needs more homes but this policy is certainly not the answer. Driving up the cost of property and reducing opportunities for new businesses and jobs is the last thing the capital needs.”
Notes to editors:
1. Details of today’s Government announcement:
2. The Mayor of London’s statement on today’s Government announcement:
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the discovering by Architects’ Journal that the earlier version of the audit review into the awarding of design contact to Heatherwick Studio was significantly different and far more critical to the published version said:
“Nailing jelly to a wall would be a far easier task than getting to the bottom of the exact process of how Transport for London awarded the design and development services for the Temple to South Bank Footbridge Project to Heatherwick Studio.”
“Despite repeated questioning of both the Mayor and TfL and some excellent investigative reporting by Architects’ Journal it is clear a great deal of information is still being held back.
“It seems that TfL’s audit of the procurement process went through a sanitising process before its publication that Alistair Campbell would be proud of.”
“Far from the investigation process into the procurement process being over I believe it has only started.
“To finally reveal the true process that was followed by TfL under their instructions from the Mayor of London I believe it might now be time for the London Assembly to hold more evidence sessions and directly question the person who carried out the audit process.”
Notes to editors:
- Today’s report by Architects’ Journal:
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Mayoral Decision to spend a further £1 million of Transport for London’s resources on ‘aviation related matters’, bringing the total budget for work on aviation up to £6.2 million said:
“Once again the Mayor is throwing good money after bad on aviation.
“The Mayor should be explaining why he has already blown over £5 million of TfL’s valuable resources pursuing his misguided ideas for a Thames Estuary airport.
“Instead he is robbing TfL of even further resources.
“Six million pounds could have been far better spent on transport projects that would actually benefit Londoners.”
“From extending the cycle hire scheme into south east London through to delivering step free access at more Tube stations there are literally dozens of ways in which valuable TfL’s resources could have been better spent.”
Notes to editors:
The Mayoral Decision published today directing TfL to spend a further £1 million on aviation work can be seen here:
https://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/mayor/mayoral-decisions/MD1544(see paragraph 1.8)
Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on the diesel emissions fixing scandal facing Volkswagen said:
“The unfolding VW emissions fixing scandal is clearly demonstrating that, despite what motor manufacturers have been claiming, there is no such thing as a clean diesel car. Real-world tests show that so-called "clean" (Euro 6) diesels actually emit many times more poisonous gases than they are legally entitled to.
"The Mayor Boris Johnson's current proposals for his 'Ultra Low Emission Zone' (ULEZ) count Euro 6 diesel cars as 'ultra low emission vehicles' allowed to enter central London free of charge. This policy clearly now hangs in tatters and must be revised.
“It is now abundantly clear that no diesel cars should be allowed to enter the ULEZ zone from 2020.
"Central London, like Paris, must become a diesel-free zone."
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the announcement by Transport for London that they will install opening windows on the new routemasters at a further cost of around £2 million said:
“Anything to make travelling on the new routemasters more bearable during the Summer is obviously welcome. These buses are quite frankly a cauldron on wheels during hot weather.
“However the Mayor must now explain why the needs of passengers were overlooked when he decided to purchase these incredibly expensive buses.
“It simply beggars belief that such expensive buses were ever purchased by the Mayor and TfL with such a basic design fault.”