Mayor appoints advisor for outer London

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The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today appointed Cllr Teresa O’Neill, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, as his unpaid advisor on Outer Borough Relations, to work with him on combating the problems around economic prosperity, housing, transport and employment faced by the outer boroughs.

In a latest move, tackling the challenges faced by outer boroughs, Cllr O'Neill joins the Mayor in his work with the Outer London Commission, which Mr Johnson set up in 2008. The Mayor's Outer London Commission brings together boroughs, public and private sector regeneration agencies, developers, landowners and experts in the fields of planning, and economic development. 

This appointment builds on the work of the Commission and Cllr O’Neill will help drive forward its recommendations.  Before entering politics, Cllr O’Neill had a background in Financial Services and during her time in Bexley she has championed the interests of its residents and worked hard to attract new investment into the borough.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "It is vital we address the historic neglect of the outer boroughs that preceded this mayoralty. We are talking about the places people enjoy living in; local communities that care about their surroundings; parks, shopping centres, places to cycle around, meet friends and spend time with families. What we know through the work we have already done with the Outer London Commission, is that one of the greatest economic assets provided by the outer boroughs is the quality of life afforded to residents. This is the very beating heart of the 'village in the city' and needs to be allowed to flourish.

“I am delighted that Teresa is coming on board to take this work forward so that we do not miss a trick in using the important assets of outer London in building an even greater city to live, work and invest in."

Cllr Teresa O’Neill, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, said: "Outer London offers not only a tremendous quality of life, but has major interests and businesses of its own. Its success is vital to the economy of London and to the nation as a whole.

"I am very pleased to be taking on this new role and I am looking forward to working with the boroughs and with the Mayor to make sure outer London plays a full part in the capital's continued success."

The Outer London Commission was established by the Mayor in 2008 to develop policy recommendations aimed at enabling outer London to realise its economic, social and environmental potential.

Labour Assembly Member, Val Shawcross AM said ”The appointment of yet another adviser won’t gloss over the failure of London’s Conservative Mayor to deliver improvements for residents.
‘It’s clear that the decisions taken by Boris Johnson to the cut 1000 police officers, close hundreds of ticket offices and introduce above inflation increases to rail, tube and bus fares are having their greatest impact on outer London.

‘Boris Johnson has broken promise after promise he made to people from introducing orbital bus routes, protecting ticket officers and defending local policing teams.

‘Outer London residents need a Mayor with a clear vision and the determination to see through long-term improvements for outer London. Boris Johnson’s decisions to cancel major outer London transport projects such as the Croydon Tram extension, the DLR extension and step free access schemes at tube stations across the capital and demonstrate a complete lack of commitment to outer London from City Hall.”

Safer neighbourhood police teams
Boris Johnson said in 2008, "I fully support the Safer Neighbourhood Team model, and I am committed to ensuring that there are at least six officers in every ward and his manifesto said, "I also support neighbourhood policing, and will continue to provide the resources for Safer Neighbourhood Teams."

In 2011 it emerged the number of police sergeants on London's neighbourhood policing teams is to be halved over the next two years as part of budget cutbacks from 630 to just 330 and the Mayor has admitted he will not guarantee the future of safer neighbourhood teams.

Orbital bus route
Boris Johnson promised in his manifesto, ’Let’s have new orbital bus routes for the outer boroughs’

In March 2010 he admitted he would break this pledge: ‘I have seen plenty of good studies now which suggest to me that the big investment in orbital bus routes does not actually deliver the improvements that are sometimes claimed.’

Ticket offices
Boris Johnson promised in 2008 to ensure “there is always a manned ticket office at every station” and said, ‘I will stop the proposed Tube ticket office closures in outer London.’

From February 6th 2011 ticket office opening hours have been slashed and hundreds of underground station staff posts including gateline staff posts at tube stations have been cut. Weekday opening hours will fall by 30% or 5290 hours a week.
For details of all ticket office closures go to:  

Boris Johnson made a manifesto promise to outer London residents that they would be able to attend ‘monthly meetings with borough commanders to discuss policing issues.’  

Boris Johnson has not delivered his promise of monthly meetings with borough commanders.

Transport projects cancelled
Just weeks after Boris Johnson was elected he cancelled a series of major transport projects including the extension of the DLR to Barking and the extension of the Croydon tram.

Cycle funding for outer London boroughs slashed.
In 2008 Boris Johnson cut £10m from the budget for cycle lanes in London. The total spent on London Cycle Network was cut from £33million in 2008/9 to only £12m in 2009/10. Of the 383 schemes which were cancelled as a result of the cuts, 260 of them in outer London boroughs.

Outer London residents hit hardest by rail, tube and bus fare increases.

Rail fares – A single journey on TfL Rail in zones 1-4 is up 36%, £2.50 to £3.40 between 2008-2011.

Bus fares – Since 2008 a single bus journey by Oyster is up 44%,

Tube fares – An off peak single journey across three zones (outside zone 1) is up by 40% since 2008 (up from £1.00 to £1.40) and the cost of the popular Zone 1-4 weekly Travelcard is up £249 a year from£34.60 to £39.40 or 13.9% between 2008-2011.


February 15, 2011