Ken Livingstone is a broadcaster and politician who was London’s first elected mayor from May 2000 to 2008. An elected Mayor for the capital saw devolved government restored after fourteen years without a strategic authority and voice for London. He is standing to be Labour’s candidate for mayor of London in 2012 to put London first and use his experience of office to get the most from what will be a difficult economic and political time for Britain and London.
With the current uproar on Big spending cuts by the coalition government, how hard are these cuts going to be for London?
‘The Conservatives have opened up a vicious attack on the quality of life of Londoners and Boris Johnson is culpable for the cuts, having called for them to be elected and acted as a pioneer for higher fares and making cuts to services like the police even before Cameron and Osborne were in office.
London will be hit hard with police spending cut, rail fare increases, increased graduate debt, higher rents for tenants, benefit caps that will hit London hardest, thousands of jobs lost, and local government forced to carry out cuts to services that people rely on.I believe Boris Johnson has completely failed to protect London on housing, fares, childcare, police spending, housing benefit, regeneration, child benefit, and graduate debt.We must do everything within our power to fight the cuts and protect the investment that has transformed London.
What are the main issues you will be tackling and how will you do more London
I’m running for Mayor of London for one clear reason. If I am elected my focus will be to do everything I can to protect Londoners from the recession and the effects of the new government’s policies. I will use every lever to make sure our quality of life is protected and improved.
Serious times require serious solutions that protect Londoners: to protect public services in London, create new jobs, make the streets safer, hold down fares, and build more affordable housing.
I have already started to work on the issues that matter to London, with a campaign against Boris Johnson’s plan to cut 455 police officers and his refusal to guarantee the future of our safer neighborhood police teams and against the Conservatives disastrous plans to cut housing benefit. Over the summer I published a series of new ideas for London including action to improve the quality of life on our high streets and making London the world’s first Smart City.
How prepared is London for the 2012 Olympics and do you have special proposals regarding the Olympics?
I have always believed that the success of the 2012 Games would be measured in the legacy and benefits we deliver for the whole of London.
With the collapse of the Docklands in the 60s and with the collapse of manufacturing in the 70s and 80s the East End was in desperate need of investment. Thanks to the Olympics there will be billions of pounds going into that area, which will create new jobs and build thousands of new homes.
I knew that I would never get seven or eight or nine million pounds out of any government just to regenerate a run-down area. But by winning the Olympics I knew there would have to be investment in the infrastructure; new transport and housing.