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Ending smoking at bus shelters should be the London's top child health priority

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the recommendation today by the London Health Commission that Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and 25,000 acres of parks in the capital should go smoke free, said:

“Huge changes have taken place in public attitudes towards smoking and it is important that this continues. It is now hard to even imagine that 30 years ago smoking was not only permitted on London Underground trains but was also routine in most offices.

New Year fireworks ought to be free, safe and accessible

On the day that tickets for London’s New Year’s Eve firework display go on sale Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, said:

“It was only last week that it was suddenly announced that the Mayor planned to scale down the New Year's Eve firework display to just 100,000 people who could afford to pay £10 for tickets, including children.

After years of excuses the Mayor must now take action to tackle violent crime

The Mayor of London has promised to write to all hospitals across London to ensure that anonymous data about violent incidents is shared with the police to ensure there is effective action to tackle knife and other violent crime hot spots, following questioning by Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group.

The Mayor has also agreed, if it is necessary, to call a summit at City Hall to ensure that the full adoption of the crime prevention model.

Concerns about the Garden Bridge

In a Guardian article by Rowan Moore, Caroline Pidgeon discusses some concerns about the project to build a Garden Bridge from Temple to the South Bank:

These rapid changes of position caused Caroline Pidgeon, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly, to spot a pattern. The mayor’s statements on the bridge had been “totally false, just as with his past claims about the funding of the cycle hire scheme and the Thames cable car”. ...

Assembly backs Dementia Friends campaign

The London Assembly has backed the Alzheimer’s Society ‘Dementia Friends’ campaign, which aims for at least one million supporters by 2015. The Assembly also called for training across the GLA and the wider group to understand the disease.

Dementia is a growing problem in London, with huge personal and economic costs for society. Dementia costs the UK £26 billion a year – enough to pay the energy bills of every household in the country. People with dementia, their carers and families shoulder two-thirds of the cost themselves.

The Mayor needs to act to ensure the safety of children in care

Speaking to London Live about her work on the issues of children going missing from local authority care in London, and the urgency of this issue in the light of the findings around abused children in Rotherham, Caroline Pidgeon said:

Subsidies for gun owners must end

Writing at Liberal Democrat Voice, Caroline Pidgeon sets out the facts showing how the freeze on gun licence fees effectively means that, at time of huge funding pressure, the police continue to subsidise gun owners:

Since 2001 the cost of a five-year gun licence across the UK has been frozen at £50, which in practice equates to just £10 per year. The cost of renewing a five-year licence gun licence is even lower, at just £40. By way of comparison an annual fishing rod licence costs £27, or £72 to obtain an annual licence to fish for salmon or sea trout.

To get some understanding of the significant expenditure by the police in issuing gun licences I recently asked a Mayoral Question to find out about the situation just in London. The reply from the Mayor of London stated that the Metropolitan Police Service’s total expenditure on carrying out checks and issuing gun licences had been in excess of £20 million since 2008. At the same the Mayor of London has admitted that the total income raised by these fees has raised a mere £1.5 million since 2008.

Subsidising gun licence costs is indefensible

Responding to figures showing that the Metropolitan Police spent £3 million more in processing gun licence applications than they received in fees, Caroline Pidgeon commented:

"When there are so many pressures on police resources it is indefensible that the Met should be subsidising gun owners by millions of pounds every year.

"The full cost of carrying out vital checks before the issuing of gun licences should be paid for entirely by gun owners themselves.

Islington police failed to answer basic questions on Arsenal hospitality

As three police officers face a misconduct inquiry over the handling of an investigation involving an Arsenal footballer, bringing to light eight years of free season tickets given by the club to the Metropolitan Police, Caroline Pidgeon said:

"Before accepting any hospitality every police officer should ask fundamental questions as to whether acceptance is good for policing and how it would be perceived by the public.

Met should be open about costs of vital surveillance work

As a "mystery" Cessna plane flying over London sparked speculation on its potential use for surveillance, Caroline Pidgeon commented:

Of course the Met needs to defend some secrecy over its surveillance work, however you can't put planes up over London without people noticing. It would be best if the Met simply admitted that vital surveillance work takes place and at the same time was open about the costs of such operations.

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