As you will know, London Mayor Boris Johnson (front row, 3rd from left) recently announced plans for massive increases in fares for Londoners.
Some highlights of his proposals include:
- raise the cost of a single bus fare by 20%, from £1 to £1.20
- raise the cost of a weekly bus pass by over 20%, from £13.80 to £16.60
- raise the cost of an off-peak tube journey from Hackney into central London by 12.5%, from £1.60 to £1.80
This is all to ensure he can look after wealthy voters by abolishing the Western Congestion Charge, at an estimated cost to TfL of £70m, and by abolishing the £25 gas guzzler charge at an estimated cost to TfL of £50m.
As a borough with low car ownership and heavy reliance on buses, these rises hit Hackney people harder than most.
It was incredibly disappointing to see Hackney Tory councillors at last night's full council refuse to stand up for the people they represent. During a debate on the fare rises,they queued up to praise Boris's plans, completely ignoring the impact it will have on Hackney people.
Slowly people are waking up to the fact that underneath the cuddly manner and the messy hair, Boris is a far right Tory who wants to use his adminstration as a test bed for any future Conservative government's approach to investment in public services.
As my colleague Cllr Rob Chapman said last night: "He's not so funny now."