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ASSEMBLY SHOOTS DOWN LIVINGSTONE'S LONDON BUDGET

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Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green and United Kingdom Independence Party members combined to vote down the propo...
Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green and United Kingdom Independence Party members combined to vote down the proposed£2.97bn budget.

It would require a total precept of£259 on council tax, equivalent to an increase of 33p per week on the band D average.

But Mr Livingstone (Lab) has said the final budget, due to be presented on 14 February, would bring that figure below 30p. The average band D bill this year is£1,120.

He accused the opposition parties of presenting a 'totally incoherent' alternative.

The assembly's sole power is to reject a budget if it can muster a two-thirds vote against it.

Labour losses at last June's elections gave other parties 18 of the 25 seats, making it possible they could reject the final budget.

Andrew Pelling (Con), chair of the assembly budget committee, said: 'Transport for London is making an extra£45m from fares and so Mr Livingstone has no need to raise the extra money he says he wants.'

The assembly called on the mayor to save money by scrapping his Londoner newspaper, the amount spent on the delayed Thames Gateway Bridge project, and by taking tougher action against bus and Underground fare evasion.

Mr Livingstone said: 'I do not believe that Liberal Democrat and Green voters elected assembly members to participate in a coalition with Conservative and UKIP members to cut public transport.'

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