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Richard Barnes, Assembly Member for Ealing & Hillingdon and Leader of the Conservative Group, says the Conservative budget for the GLA is the only one that offers value-for-money.

Local authorities are currently setting their budgets for 2008/09.  That includes the Greater London Authority.  The Conservative Group on the London Assembly has proposed “a budget for law and order”.  This includes an extra 500 warranted police officers on the beat to combat crime and gang warfare.  We would manage this by diverting money from bureaucracy to front line services.  There would be no increase in the GLA part of Londoners’ council tax bills.

Our proposals are in stark contrast to those being put forward by Ken Livingstone.  His is the same tired, miserable, old-fashioned budget from the same tired, miserable, old-fashioned Mayor.   He is locked into the politics of yesterday and is not proposing anything new for Londoners.  His proposals will bring his tax increases over the last eight years to a massive 153% – yet many of us may well ask what we have to show for this.

Our no-increase budget recognises the concerns Londoners have for rising violent crime.   In addition to the extra 500 warranted police officers we are also proposing 650 extra transport police, more safer neighbourhood teams and increased use of CCTV.  In essence, we want less spin and more action in the fight against crime in London – and we demonstrate that this can be achieved without an automatic increase in the GLA tax.

I believe our budget makes a stand for common sense and value for money.  Londoners will not find that on offer from any other Party at City Hall.

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