I want to finish the job, Boris tells Londoners
Boris Johnson is current Mayor of London and he's running again in this May's London Mayoral Election. The Conservative candidate sets out his vision for a safer London with accountable police and more high-quality housing. You can ask Boris a question during his Mumsnet webchat on Monday.
I was cycling through central London the other day when my heart swelled with pride. I’m proud that London is a fantastically diverse city, boasting not just a great cultural and ethnic mix but also a great mix of ages. I’m proud that London is neither a ‘young’ city nor a retirement town. It defies such descriptions, with a significant population of families living alongside older and younger people, contributing a huge amount to the capital’s culture and economy. I’m proud that this is a great city to raise children in. So especially now, when times are tough, it's vital we have a mayor who works to get the best possible deal for Londoners and this city.
It’s unromantic but true that the world's future lies in cities, rather than villages –so we’ve tried to bring the best features of villages to our capital. Restoring 300 acres of green space and planting 20,000 street trees, so that our children can play outside. Investing £221 million transforming local high streets and supporting small businesses to make them more pleasant to visit and to shop in. And there's nothing more villagey than the sight of someone sailing elegantly past, bolt upright on one of London’s big, blue, burly bicycles!
But my first priority is making London the best big city to live and work in. As Mayor I’ve met and listened to many Londoners’ concerns about improving life for their mothers, sisters and daughters, and the most striking message is always the need to continue cutting crime and anti-social behaviour. So I’ve taken steps to make our streets and neighbourhoods safer over the last four years. Overall I have cut total crime by 10.8 per cent. Bus crime has fallen by 30 per cent since I put 697 extra police on our tubes and buses, and banned alcohol on the Transport for London Network. And now we want to go further. My nine point plan for a Greater London sets out how we are going to keep making London a safer and more attractive place to live.
We are expanding the Safer Neighbourhood Teams with up to another three PCs and three Specials in every ward. Taking officers – many of them from desk jobs of one kind or another - and putting 2000 into frontline neighbourhood policing. We have more than doubled the number of Special Constables and we are going to double it again. We will give communities a say in the priorities of their local police by setting up new Safer Neighbourhood Boards. And we will continue the drive to make transport safer and more pleasant. That means maintaining our commitment to a uniformed presence of 697 officers on our buses, tubes and trains.
In my new manifesto, I commit to leading the fight against all the barriers to growth and employment for women with children to return to work through part-time jobs. At City Hall I will lead by example, as we believe we can generate 7,500 part-time jobs in the GLA Group by 2015. But it also means a new campaign working with employers so that they show more flexibility and match women with skills with part-time job shares.
This election is about trust. And I think it has astonished some of our officials that we in City Hall have kept the promises we made to London four years ago, whilst cutting the Mayoral share of council tax, putting £445 back in Londoners' pockets. I feel like a man who has built half a bridge – I can see the other side; I can see what needs to be done. And I want to get on with my plan for a greater London.