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Building affordable homes must be the top priority of the Mayor’s budget

Building more affordable homes must be the top priority of the Mayor’s budget is the central message of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group amendment to the Mayor’s draft budget for the next year.

Their amendment to the Mayor’s budget set out ambitious plans to dramatically increase housing investment in London by converting the current Olympic precept, which is typically £20 a year for most householders, into a new ‘housing precept’.

Mayor has let down London in his obsession with the New Routemaster

The Mayor’s obsession with the New Routemaster is forcing Transport for London to purchase more of the expensive buses for the sole reason of keeping the production line running at Wrightbus, it has been revealed.

Transport for London’s Finance and Policy Committee is set to agree to purchase 30 more New Routemaster buses so as to “enable Wrightbus to maintain the operation of one of the two current production lines”, confirming that there is no market for the New Routemaster buses outside of London.

Mayor should apologise for his real failure to get London hospitals to share data with the police

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the recent boastful statement by the Mayor of London claiming a ‘dramatic’ increase in London’s A&Es sharing information with the police to help reduce violence across the capital, said:

“For many years there has been powerful evidence that anonymous data collected by A&Es leads to more intelligent and effective policing helping to make our communities safer.

Incredible that Chancellor bypassed proper process on the Garden Bridge

As a National Audit Office report highlights the uncertainty over the value for the public money being poured into the Garden Bridge, and George Osborne's bypassing of normal procedure, Caroline Pidgeon commented:

“It is incredible that, while the real benefits of the garden bridge are hard to quantify, George Osborne didn’t hesitate to instruct both the Department for Transport and the Mayor of London to pour taxpayers’ money into the scheme.”

Welcoming a ban on killer knives

As the Independent reports that the Home Office plans to ban knives with no legitimate use, Caroline Pidgeon has welcomed the measure:

“Despite all the rhetoric by so many Westminster politicians about being tough on knife crime, the reality is that many practical policies have for too long not been properly adopted to tackle the horrendous loss of young lives caused by knife crime.

It is a mockery to claim there was an open and fair competition over Garden Bridge

Caroline Pidgeon and other members of the London Assembly's GLA Oversight Committee put pressure on the Mayor this week about the process that has been followed to award Heatherwick Studio the contract for the Garden Bridge.

Speaking after the committee meeting, Caroline said:

“You don’t start lobbying for investment in a specific scheme when it has not been selected unless you are absolutely certain of the outcome.

One third of London hospitals still fail to help police tackle knife crime

Over a third of hospitals in London are still failing to take part in a scheme which has been proven to dramatically reduce knife crime. The admission that many hospitals are still not sharing anonymous data collected from knife victims was made this week by Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.

Using all our talents to make transport better in London

Writing for the MayorWatch website, Caroline considers Transport for London's progress this year on building a diverse organisation - starting from the low point earlier this year of the Commissioner attending a male-only event from which women were barred:

It says a great deal that anyone can attend a large event for three years in a row, with literally each and every table hosting only men, and assume that it was just normal that no women were present, even without a firm exclusion policy.

Video - Make London a National Park City

On Monday 14th December, Caroline Pidgeon joined Daniel Raven-Ellison from the National Park City campaign to walk through some of London’s wonderful green space and to talk about his vision for a Greater London National Park City.

Caroline and Daniel walked through Sydenham Woods in South East London and talked about the fantastic idea that would make London a national park.

Congestion Charge evasion by embassies heads for £100m

Figures obtained by Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, reveal that in the 7.5 years that Boris Johnson has been Mayor of London the level of unpaid Congestion Charge by embassies and diplomatic missions based in London has soared from £17.3 million to £95.3 million. It is now likely that the total level of unpaid Congestion Charge will pass £100 million by the end of Boris Johnson’s term as Mayor of London.

Commenting on the latest figures, Caroline Pidgeon said:

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