Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
London government is at a crossroads with a weak and fragmented structure which must change if the city is to thriv...
London government is at a crossroads with a weak and fragmented structure which must change if the city is to thrive, according to a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

More than a decade after the abolition of the Greater London Council, the system is 'both complex and politically weak' says the report, London government: options for change.

Research by Tony Travers and George Jones of the London School of Economics says the present arrangements must 'inevitably' be reformed within a few years.

However, the attitude of the London boroughs themselves could create obstacles to change. The report says: 'Individual boroughs have become involved in London-wide initiatives, some borough leaders have assumed a visible role in London-wide politics.

'It is unlikely that having developed such an enhanced position the borough would easily revert to their previous low-key role.

'Boroughs might object to any proposal to transfer control over, say, planning advice, research, or parking regulation to a mayor or London-wide elected authority with a separate electoral mandate.'

Nevertheless, the report says: 'Given its complex and often unaccountable nature the system of London government works surprisingly well.'

It concludes: 'Reform of London will never be easy. Too many organisations have a view about what is best for them and for the city.

'The boroughs remain powerful political entities. But a mayor and a London-wide authority are favoured by the majority of Londoners.

'It is difficult to see why, in a democracy, people should be forever denied the political institutions they want.'

The Labour Party last week launched its Manifesto for London with pledges to appoint a mayor and a strategic authority for the city if a referendum shows that is what residents want.

The manifesto also promised:

-- A new public/private partnership to improve the Underground

-- The release of capital receipts to be invested in building new houses and refurbishing old ones

-- The formulation of an investment and business strategy for London

-- A moratorium on all hospital closures

-- A London-wide air pollution strategy.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.