‘Women, in London, are more affected by cuts to pensions and housing benefits than men’, a new report published today by mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone has revealed.
The document showed that women will pay for an astonishing 66% of the planned cuts in London.
And the report also revealed that women who work in the public sector will also come under threat from the planned cuts. This is especially important as they represent some 65% of the public sector workforce in London.
I am of course concerned by this revelation and also to learn that the Treasury has failed to indicate whether it assessed how and if its budget proposals would affect inequality between men and women, something it is required to do under equality laws. I am surprised it has yet to be challenged on this in any significant way and it is something I will look into.
Livingstone also claims that since Boris Johnson succeeded him there has been a reduction in the number of women in senior positions in the Greater London Authority (GLA).
Whether it is Ken or Oona who is selected to represent the Labour Party following the impending ballot I hope that they will take the Mayor to task on this. It sends out a shocking message to Londoners.
The GLA should be at the forefront of equal rights and if this is not happening then the party led by the new candidate must challenge this.
No-one expected Bonkers Boris to stand up for women’s rights. The Tories’ record is appalling. Their MEPs have consistently opposed measures to improve women’s lives including, amazingly, failing to support a resolution calling for the banning of female genital mutilation across the EU.
I have just come from a meeting of the European Parliament Culture and Education Committee where one of the Conservative MEPs voted against a report calling for women to be encouraged to study science and technology and take up management positions.
So it’s no surprise that Boris Johnson has purged women from City Hall and scrapped the post of women’s adviser held by Anni Marjoram. Anni did a good job for Ken Livingstone on behalf of women. Ken maintained one of the few dedicated women’s rights officers in the public sector anywhere in Europe. London led the way, but sadly does so no more.
The Tories want to take us back to a time before equality of opportunity, a time when women were denied the chances they now have. For all our sakes, we cannot let that happen.
There is no getting away from it – Thursday 1 May was a bad day for the capital. Ken Livingstone has done an extraordinarily good job on our behalf. His most striking achievement, the congestion charge, was one of the boldest moves I have seen in my thirty odd years in politics. It took a very special politician to embark on a course of action which, while beneficial for the city as a whole, upset many vested interests and invited the wrath of the capital’s only newspaper, the appalling Evening Standard. Many would say “it was the Standard wot won it” thanks to the paper’s relentless and uncritical campaign for Boris Johnson.
As a London representative resident in the capital’s centre, I was very aware of the real improvements made by Ken. Since there are many more buses I now use them in a way I did not eight years ago, and I have found my Oyster card immensely helpful. Ken is a true Londoner and worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of London.
My congratulations to the Labour members of the Greater London Assembly who were returned: Nicky Gavron, Murad Qureshi, Val Shawcross, John Biggs, Jennette Arnold, Joanne McCartney, Len Duvall and Navin Shah. I know they will keep up Labour’s good work.
Tory GLA Member Brian Coleman has run up a £4,147 taxi bill this year – more than all the GLA Members put together, including Ken Livingstone. He managed to claim £420 in one fell swoop by asking the cab to wait while he addressed a meeting of the Jewish Forum in Barnet during December.
While I firmly believe we elected representatives need adequate resources to do our jobs, over four grand to travel round the capital seems a bit steep, especially since Ken’s transport improvements have made it much easier.
The odious Coleman denies booking any of the cars himself. He thought he was being ferried around in a GLA official car. “Because I’ve been Chairman and Deputy Chairman I’m entitled to an official car when attending official functions in the morning dress and wearing the diamonds around my neck,” he told “Metro” newspaper.
Yet there is no official car and indulging in the bells and whistles of office is Coleman’s choice ninety-nine percent of the time. Murad Qureshi, a Labour Member of the Greater London Assembly said, “He (Coleman) justifies getting taxis everywhere because he wears his bling around. There’s no reason for him even to be wearing it.”
You and I are paying Mr Coleman’s insecure need to puff himself up. His sense of self-importance is really quite extraordinary and expensive.
UKIP’s candidate for Mayor of London, Gerard Batten, is obviously fighting hard to clear up corruption and improve financial transparency. On his campaign website he promises to “give Londoners value for money” and challenges Ken Livingstone’s “lies” over how much the London Assembly costs.
However, Batten is clearly concerned that he is not being treated seriously enough. On 4th April he wrote to the Guardian to complain that he wasn’t getting enough publicity. He said that “The way that some elements of the media have so far reported this election is a disgrace in a so-called democracy”
When not campaigning for Mayor of London, Batten is also a UKIP MEP for London. All MEPs have to submit a declaration of financial interests to the European Parliament every year. Unless MEPs expressly object, this is then made public on the European Parliament’s website.
There are nine MEPs for London but Batten is the only MEP who refuses to allow his declaration of financial interests to be made public on Parliament’s website.
Perhaps Batten might like to explain to the public why they can’t see who he’s taking money from before they vote for him.
Make no mistake, the fascist BNP are out to fight. As we know they will fight dirty, stirring up racism and hatred. We must all fight the BNP at every opportunity. They must not be allowed to gain seats on any elected body. Winning elections will, of course, give the BNP credibility and legitimacy, which would be disastrous for the country.
The first real test are the GLA and Mayoral elections in May. There is talk that the BNP may gain a seat. It is absolutely crucial that we in the Labour Party work in every way we can to stop this happening. The same goes for the European elections next year.
There is a view that UKIP voters may swing to the BNP. I can believe this could well be the case. We therefore also have a duty to warn people about UKIP.