Today the Mayor used Mayor’s Question Time to announce his proposed rise in the GLA precept. The Mayor has graciously decided to take his foot off our throats and announced that his levy on us will rise by only 2.4%. This is marvellous news but we all know that the only reason he is being so generous is that not only is there an election next year but also that he will have the fight of his life against Boris Johnson.
A quick review of my bills for the last ten years shows how fast the Mayor’s charge had risen in that time. Next year it will be 196% higher than it was the last year there were separate charges for the Police and Fire Brigade before the GLA came into being. In other words it has taken only 9 short years to triple the precept. Shame our incomes haven’t done the same. Who can forget that stand out year 2003 when the Mayor though that it was OK to raise the precept by a mighty 29%?
The figures in red in the table above are those for the year of a mayoral election. The 2000/1 figure was not the Mayor’s fault to be fair. This was proposed by civil servants. Clearly the Mayor was inspired by their boldness and managed to double the precept in four years in the early noughties. But in order to bolster his chances of being elected for a second time he proposed the lowest rise in five years in 2004/5. He even went a notch lower the next year to help protect London Labour MPs in the 2005 general election. But the next year the Mayor reverted to early noughties form and hit us with a 13.3% rise. Interestingly he was not so concerned with the fates of Labour councillors, many in Ealing, who were put to the sword after the Mayor’s excruciating 13.3% just before the 2006 London local elections.
When the Mayor announced his galloping 5.3% rise last year his entire press release failed to give the percentage rise. Instead he used the weasely construction “29p a week”.
This year the rise is so low he does not mind giving the actual figure up front. His comms people continue to demonstrate that they are some of the twistiest people in the business.