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ALG CALLS FOR CUTS TO WISHLIST AS IT SLAMS MAYOR'S PRECEPT INCREASE

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Mayor of London Ken Livingstone's tax-and- spend approach is 'unrealistic' and he must demonstrate value for money,...
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone's tax-and- spend approach is 'unrealistic' and he must demonstrate value for money, the Association of London Government has warned.

In a submission on the Greater London Authority budget, the association described the mayor's proposed 35% precept increase as 'unacceptable and unrealistic'.

It asked the authority to 'demonstrate and achieve excellent value for money'.

A number of wish-list items should be dropped from the core authority budget. Transport for London, which accounts for most of the increase, should cut back its swelling staff and drop plans to police buses, the submission said.

Association head of local government finance Stephen Fitzgerald said: 'The mayor claims he's elected to spend on public services and that's what he's going to do. He's not concerned about council taxes and

he's not going to listen to anyone other than himself.'

The mayor's budget adviser, Neale Coleman, conceded 35% was an accurate figure, but said it was 'misleading to suggest this is the only way it can be presented'.

He said: 'It's£1 a week and it will deliver very big improvements in transport.'

He added: 'The ALG is trying to ensure people are left with the misleading impression that the whole reason for the tax rises is down to Ken. But the biggest component is down to the boroughs.'

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