After his announcement of a 1% cut in the Council Tax precept this year the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has promised bigger cuts each year if he is reelected.
The Evening Standard reports on savings identified by his Chief of Staff Sir Edward Lister of £150 million. They would translate into a 10% cut in the precept.
Sir Edward says:
"There were nearly 1,400 people working in the GLA and its various bodies in 2008. In these last four years 530 people have gone but we've absorbed bodies such as the LDA into City Hall.
"This place was a basket case when Boris took over. City Hall was a very bloated bureaucracy. The reduction in staffing levels we have made so far is roughly £30 million worth."
"We're looking at staffing levels as well as efficiency savings of around £150 million over the next four years. That would translate to further savings in council tax. The one per cent cut this year was a down payment – nothing more."
This is a man with credibility when it comes to delivering Council Tax cuts. He was, of course, leader of Wandsworth Council for many years.
Labour dismissed the 1% cut of £3.10 of being worth just an onion a month. I suppose they will scorn a £31 cut as only paying for ten onions a month. So much more worthwhile to seize the money from Londoners to spend on highly paid City Hall staff writing reports that nobody reads. A mentality that also suggests a relaxed attitude to hiking the Council Tax precept.
Tim Montgomerie wrote in the Mail on Sunday:
The core problem was that voters looked at the Conservative Party and saw people who didn’t understand what it was like to worry about running out of money before pay day arrived.
But when it comes to the Council Tax it is the Left who have this lack of understanding. In the Labour Party and also the Green Party where their London Assembly member Darren Johnson says £3.10 "could buy you a coffee and a croissant in the City Hall cafe." Or I suppose £31 could pay for ten such inconsequential visits. Or why not double the Council tax precept (again)? Only 100 coffees and croissants per Londoner. Then a really big team of Climate Change Officers could be employed.
For the rich, such of those on a London Assembly members salary, £3.10, or £31 or £310 might not matter. For the poor it does.