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Live webchat with Ken Livingstone, TODAY 11.15am to 12.15pm

(157 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 17-Apr-12 10:07:52

In the run up to the London Mayoral elections in May, we're very pleased to announce that Ken Livingstone will be joining us for a live webchat on Wednesday 18th April from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm. You can read more about Kens plans for London on his Mumsnet blog here.

Ken Livingstone was London's first elected mayor between 2000 and 2008. He was born in Streatham in 1945, attending Tulse Hill Comprehensive and working as a lab technician at Chester Beatty cancer research unit. Since becoming the MP for Brent East he has lived in Cricklewood.

Join us for the webchat and make your voice heard about what you want to see from the capital's next Mayor. He's keen to hear your views and answer your questions. As ever, if you can't make it, please post up your advance questions here.

Thanks, MNHQ

EmsieRo Wed 18-Apr-12 11:39:04

I have always been a Labour supporter, as have my whole extended family, but as Jewish Londoners, I know many of them feel quite strongly that they will not vote for you (rightly or wrongly).

My question is, why do you think Labour has not put anyone else forward for this role? Are there no young, dynamic party members who would be far more suitable and deserve a chance to change things? Arguably, you have had your chance.

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:39:59

painterlyswoosh

So I read your guest blog. My, it sounds wonderful! Everything that Bojo has cut will be reinstated, with a fare cut to boot. How lovely.

I know you said that some of this will be funded from money from the annual mayoral budget profit, but I find it very hard to understand how, in these tough times, there is budget left over to fund all these projects (1700 police officers back, 7% fare cut, childcare grants, a not-for-profit lettings agency, bringing back the EMA).

If I were more sceptical, I might think you were just making a ton of promises that you knew you weren't going to be able to keep just to get into office hmm

So, could you please be VERY SPECIFIC about where all this money will come from? As you've done the job before, you'll know exactly how it all works.

Many thanks.

Hi painterlyswoosh.

I’m going to run through in a nutshell here – but for more info please look at my website www.kenlivingstone.com

· My fares pledge will be funded by TfL’s operating surplus – and it will not affect investment. TfL consistently has a surplus on its operating budget and
· last year this was £727mn. This operating surplus grows every year. This is an excess in the budget, over and above the projected budget. My policy is to put that money back into Londoners’ pockets and purses.
· My policing pledge will be funded by cracking down on the millions of pounds worth of waste in the Met police we know exists – from first class flights to chauffer-driven cars.
· My childcare pledge will cost £3.4 million per year and will be entirely funded through the GLA budget. We will pay for this through releasing uncommitted contingency money (of a budgeted £10.6 million in 2012/13)

· The money that will pay for my EMA pledge and energy pledge is money that already exists. The EMA pledge will bring together existing funds from colleges, universities and councils, providing central administration at city hall, and I am already in discussions with key partners about delivering this.
· Under Boris Johnson London has lost out on over £400 million of funding for home energy efficiency that could have been secured from energy utilities’ national obligations. His own RE:NEW scheme has only delivered measures to 40,000 homes, against his target of 200,000 by May 2012. This has meant hundreds of thousands of London households paying higher energy bills than they needed to.I’ll call an immediate Energy Summit of all the main domestic energy suppliers and work with them to ensure that London gains the maximum possible benefit from the remaining free insulation programmes that end in 2012 and gets its’ fair share of the £1.3bn per year energy companies are required to spend on home insulation from 2013. On average, a household that installs proper insulation will save £150 a year off their energy bills.

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:40:17

KiwiHol

Hi Ken - about violence against women.

I appreciate your commitment to deal with sexual harassment in public places. Can you outline specifically how you will tackle FGM, forced marriage and 'honour-based' violence? Boris' manifesto has clear action on these issues where yours does not seem to have any plan to work on these areas.

30 years ago the GLC Women's committee, with my support started the campaign to make FGM illegal in Britain and I believe we need to ensure prosecutions where parents take their children abroad for FGM. When I was Mayor we made police take domestic violence seriously and keep in touch with the women victims and this was a key factor in reducing the murder work. I'll make sure the police have the resources to deal with this if I'm Mayor.

I'm happy to pay more council tax if it means services won't be cut - individual savings of a couple of quid mean nothing if it buggers everything up from a wider POV.

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:42:26

jonnybristol

What are you going to do about COUNCIL TAX? Boris has said he will cut it by 10 % over ten years.

Hi Jonnybristol. I will freeze the council tax for the 4 years if I'm mayor, and my fares cut means the average London public transport used will be £1000 better off over 4 years. In comparison Boris's proposals will save the average household just £30 per year

doiwant3 Wed 18-Apr-12 11:43:16

Dear Ken,
I am not a Tory voter, and voted Labour in the last election. However, I don't think I can vote for you because you've been so offensive to my community - the Jewish community. I know we don't count for much, votes wise, but I just don't understand why you think it's a vote winner to actually be offensive to us. Please could you explain?

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:44:42

To all those who asked about attractions and visiting London

We have the highest fares in the world, they are twice the European average. I think the government should cut fares outside London in the way I'm going to do inside London. But when you do get to London your children can travel free on the buses because I introduced that change last time I was Mayor.
I was part of the campaign to end Museum charges and I made visits to London Zoo free for school parties, but Boris stopped that.

AstroidPrincess Wed 18-Apr-12 11:44:48

Hi Ken. I'm an admirer and a big fan actually. I can understand what you stand for, which increasingly I find I don't with most of today's politicians.

My question is slightly morbid but I'd like to know if you died tomorrow, what would you most like to be remembered for in terms of your time in politics?

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:44:57

eggsandham

Hi Ken. Thanks for doing this webchat. So....when Boris got elected 4 years ago I was pretty concerned and thought he would end up being a total disaster for London. But it hasn't really turned out that way. Now when friends ask me why they shouldn't vote for Boris, I struggle to think of many things he's got wrong. Can you help me out? (and I need more than your point about public transport fares, people accept that, but it doesn't really feel like enough). Thanks.

Hi Eggsandham , I can certainly help you out on this! I could spend the next hour answering this question, so instead let me run through where he has failed in relation to my six key pledges at this election. On transport, fares have risen as inflation busting rates, with a bus fare rising by 50% in 4 years – whilst the investment budget has been underspent.

On crime, he has admitted cutting the number of police officers on London streets by 1700 (live on Nick Ferrari’s LBC show, earlier this year in fact) – yet crimes including rape, robbery and youth knife crime are all up. On housing, despite the hundreds of thousands languishing on housing waiting lists across the capital, just 56 new home starts were made in London in the latest six month period. On energy, he has failed to take advantage of £400millions worth of funding he could have drawn down to help Londoners with their energy bills. And on childcare, his one action on this issue has been to scrap the London Childcare Affordability Programme I had established to help London families. In terms of what he hasn’t done – he has stood by and failed to speak up for London as EMA was cut, tax credits were cut, NHS reforms pushed through and tuition fees pushed up. Yet he has found the time to successfully lobby the government for a cut in the top rate of tax – a move that only the richest 1% of Londoners will benefit from.

slug Wed 18-Apr-12 11:45:59

Hi Ken

I watched the latest Met commissioner on the news last night promising to tackle racism in the force. While I think this is an admirable and much needed policy, how long will it be before the same policy is applied to sexism in the force?

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:46:58

There's been a few questions from Chazmax and others about bikes...

Regarding the cyclehire scheme, at £12k each, they are the most expensive bikes in the world. I will appoint the green candidate Jenny Jones to take charge of improving the safety of cyclists in London and reinstate pedestrian and cyclist safety as the top priority for TfL. Most cyclists are killed by HGVs turning left. We will cyclists a 5 second start ahead of everybody else at green lights

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:47:58

crazynanna

You have my vote,Ken!

Thank you very much crazynanna! I just need a million and a half more now.

Prolesworth Wed 18-Apr-12 11:51:17

You've got my vote too smile

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:51:36

doiwant3

Dear Ken,
I am not a Tory voter, and voted Labour in the last election. However, I don't think I can vote for you because you've been so offensive to my community - the Jewish community. I know we don't count for much, votes wise, but I just don't understand why you think it's a vote winner to actually be offensive to us. Please could you explain?

I'm sorry you have been upset by this because I have never said these things and if I had there wouldn't be so many Jewish activists working on my campaign. Nicky Gavron, the woman I appointed as my deputy mayor is Jewish and worked really well with me during my previous two terms. I have always valued the contribution made by the Jewish community to London. As mayor we worked closely with the London Jewish Forum to promote Jewish culture and events across London and will do so again.

bobthebuddha Wed 18-Apr-12 11:52:39

C4's Fact Check has questioned your ability to deliver fare cuts with the TFL 'surplus' you mentioned. If you were cutting fares would you still be able to invest in transport?

And you say you'd not be increasing your Council Tax precept. In your last tenure it went up by more than 100%. We're in a recession - can you really not to raise it again while making all these promises of spending?

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:54:31

AstroidPrincess

Hi Ken. I'm an admirer and a big fan actually. I can understand what you stand for, which increasingly I find I don't with most of today's politicians.

My question is slightly morbid but I'd like to know if you died tomorrow, what would you most like to be remembered for in terms of your time in politics?

Hi AstroidPrincess - good question! I'm an atheist and so I don't expect to be looking down on you all after I'm gone, but if I am I hope you'll be talking about my cheap fares policy and the legacy of the GLC women's committee which raised so many of the issues that Mumsnet carries on campaigning on.

thestringcheesemassacre Wed 18-Apr-12 11:54:39

Ken,

I live in Surrey, so can't vote, but I think you're the best candidate for London and I wish you much luck.

TrophyEyes Wed 18-Apr-12 11:57:17

Hi Ken,

Some resources, such as Chapter 1 and East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services, which help those who are living with, or who are in the process of leaving or recovering from domestic abuse, have received horrific cuts over the past few months. Will you be putting any measures in place to safeguard these services, at a time when the likes of Women's Aid and Refuge are reporting a strain on their services?

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 11:58:16

heliumballoon

Welcome to MN Ken.

I asked Boris a question which he did not answer (looking back at his webchat he did seem to ignore some of the harder questions and was given an easyish ride). Can I ask the same question of Labour?

I am interested in which party will bring more women into decision making roles in the running of London. Can you tell us about the women you would include on your management team? Can you tell us as well about how many Labour Assembly members are women, and compare that to the Conservative total. Thank you.

I know we are only allowed one question but I also think Ken should be able to reply once and for all on the accusations about the use of actors in his campaign video.

Labour's assembly candidate list has a majority of women as opposed to just one on the Tory slate. Labour's women candidates have been launching our women's manifesto this morning, so look out for that. Val Shawcross is going to be my deputy mayor and will be in charge of running TfL.

And we didn't use actors on our broadcast - they are all ordinary, Labour supporting Londoners. It's worth watching our follow up video where some fo the people featured say why they wanted to be involved on kenlivingstone.com

poppyseeds99 Wed 18-Apr-12 11:59:20

Hi Ken,

I read your guest blog and I like the fact you're fighting for cheaper transport - an issue that affects Londoners across the board (both rich AND poor...). In his webchat, Boris Johnson mistakenly said that transport for under 18s in London was free - which just shows how out of touch he is.

You had two very successful two terms as London Mayor - you introduced the Congestion Charge and secured the Olympics 2012, which were both impressive achievements.

My question is:

If you were re-elected, what would your single biggest achievement be in your next term as London Mayor? What one thing would you really prioritise to make London a better Capital?

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 12:00:30

SophieNeveau

Ken I haven't decided what to do with my vote yet. I have overall liked both your and Boris's achievements as mayor. The ex policeman is not appealing to me.

So Ken, why should a disabled, lone parent to two teens, vote for you over Boris?

Hi Sophie, I'll reinstate the disability access programme for our tube and trains stations, make sure dial a ride and taxicard are properly funded and we're going to give grants and loans to parents who want to go back to work but can't afford childcare. Your teens will benefit when we reintroduce the Educational Maintenance Allowance of £30 a week

SophieNeveau Wed 18-Apr-12 12:01:29

Poppy, I am so glad you picked up on the fact Boris ignored me when I pointed out he was wrong stating public transport was free for under 18's in full time education.

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 12:02:49

bobthebuddha

C4's Fact Check has questioned your ability to deliver fare cuts with the TFL 'surplus' you mentioned. If you were cutting fares would you still be able to invest in transport?

And you say you'd not be increasing your Council Tax precept. In your last tenure it went up by more than 100%. We're in a recession - can you really not to raise it again while making all these promises of spending?

Hi bobthebuddha. In the next four years the Mayor has got to do everything to keep the cost of living as low as possible so I'll cut fares, freeze the council tax and congestion charge. This won't affect investment because Boris cancelled all my transport investment plans expect the bike scheme and the investment budget has been underspent by £1bn under Boris, so there is the money there.

SophieNeveau Wed 18-Apr-12 12:04:02

Will you add more disabled parking spaces at tube/train stations that have lifts too please? if you are later than 10am the spaces are gone for the day.

AstroidPrincess Wed 18-Apr-12 12:04:25

Oh can I ask another one. My partner and I both wanted to attend the olympics, but the prices of tickets were quite outrageous. Do you feel that the Olympics are really the 'People's Olympics' when most Londoners couldn't afford a ticket, and even if they could, wouldn't even be able to get tickets for the events they wanted to see?

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