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Mayor and TfL's £60m cash pile from unused Oysters

£60 million of the public’s money is now being held in a cash pile by TfL due to a growing number of Oyster cards that have not even been used for at least one year.

The huge cash pile is due to the soaring levels of money that Transport for London (TfL) generate from people obtaining Oyster cards that are used just once, or very rarely.

13 Redbridge children went missing from care in 2013

The Ilford Recorder has an article on the findings of the London Assembly Liberal Democrats' report on incidents of children in care going missing - showing that 13 children went missing when placed by Redbridge Council in care outside the Borough.

Tom Rahilly, the NSPCC’s head of strategy and development, said:

“Going missing from care can present a significant risk to children.

“It’s often an important warning sign they are suffering serious harm or at imminent risk of doing so.

Brent has the worst record in London on missing children in care

The Kilburn Times highlights the findings of a report commissioned by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats, showing that Brent has had more incidents of children in care going missing than any other borough in the last five years.

Caroline told the newspaper:

“A local authority looked after child who goes missing for 24 hours or more is at serious risk, including at risk of physical abuse.

“The widespread failure to keep some of the most vulnerable children in our society safe while they are in the legal care of a local authority is nothing short of a disgrace.”

Horrific congestion forecasts show we need a new approach

As Transport for London released figures showing that traffic congestion in central London is on track to rise 60% based on current policies and strategies, Caroline Pidgeon said:

"The new congestion forecasts are simply horrific. The Mayor should prioritise buses and cyclists in the centre of the capital instead of pandering to everyone and ultimately failing everyone.

"The congestion charge should be updated annually, as public transport fares are, and levied at different levels at different times of day."

Read more at Dave Hill's blog in the Guardian.

Security at closed fire stations will cost £138,000 over two years

Figures obtained by Caroline Pidgeon have shown that the cost of security at Woolwich and Downham fire stations - which were closed in January as part of the Mayor's fire service cuts - will total £138,000 until the end of 2015.

Lewisham Lib Dem councillor Julia Fletcher commented:

“Downham fire station should never have closed. We were told the reason it and other stations across London had to go was to save money, yet now the taxpayer has to fork out £69,000 just to protect an empty building.”

Met needs to explain the rise in officers leaving over obscene images

As figures from the Met revealed that in 2013, 19 officers were investigated for possession or distribution of obscene images, Caroline Pidgeon commented:

“Even allowing for the fact that these cases represent a very tiny fraction of the vast number of officers employed by the Met, these figures are still disturbing, especially the steep increase in cases that took place in 2013.

“We need a full explanation as to why this problem appears to be getting worse in the Met.”

The scandal of London’s missing Looked After Children is now painfully clear

The high number of children who go missing for 24 hours or more from the care of London local authorities has been revealed in the report Looked After Children: Missing From Care, published today by Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group.

Through freedom of information requests made to every London borough, detailed information has been gathered showing that in every part of London there is a serious problem with runaway children who are in the legal care of local authorities.

Put a bit of fun back into the cycle hire scheme

As 101 yellow Cycle Hire bikes arrive to celebrate July's Tour de France stage in London, Caroline Pidgeon has called for the Mayor to "put a bit of fun back into the cycle hire scheme" with more themed bike designs.

"Rather than meeting every corporate wish of Barclays, more varied bike designs could attract far more people, and especially tourists and visitors, onto the bikes", said Caroline.

Mayor's water cannon decision is misguided and ill informed

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Mayor’s statement today that he will be seeking a formal request to the Home Secretary to arm the Metropolitan Police Service with water cannon, said:

“This is a foolish and misguided decision by the Mayor of London.

"Step-free" stations fail for 9000 hours a year

After a formal question to the Mayor by Caroline Pidgeon AM, Transport for London has admitted that "step-free" stations had a total of 9000 hours of lift failures in 2013 - as well as 500 hours of unplanned closures due to staff shortages or emergency cleaning.

The worst-hit station was Westminster, with over 2000 hours of lift failures.

Caroline commented:

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