London Assembly member Joanne McCartney gives her verdict on the chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement
Yet again the government has let down our city and our country. Last month’s Autumn Statement from the chancellor again failed to recognise the needs of London or the role we play in supporting jobs and economic growth across the UK.
It also failed to address the cost-of-living crisis which has left many families struggling.
While other cities have been given capital investment for their transport systems, there has been little for London. I have long campaigned for the much-needed signalling upgrade to the Piccadilly Line which would enable 36 trains per hour and be truly transformative. Without modern signalling, the new trains arriving from 2025 won’t be able to run at capacity – this is shortsighted.
And while the government has missed its own target on affordable homes, at City Hall we have met ours, with the mayor starting over 116,000 affordable homes – that’s 46% of the national total. I’m especially proud that London is building council housing again with 23,000 homes underway across the city, including here in Enfield.
So why hasn’t the government given us the tools to build more, as the mayor has offered? No wonder this has been labelled another anti-London budget. We dearly need investment in our public services and in local government, which is buckling under the pressure. Instead, the chancellor announced real-terms cuts. After 13 years of austerity this government is intent on more of the same.
Despite this, at City Hall we are doing what we can to protect and improve our public services. We are funding more police officers and have plans to recruit 500 extra PCSOs to rebuild our local safer neighbourhood policing teams. On top of this, I welcome the imminent arrival of TfL’s new Superloop orbital express bus service which will run along the North Circular, speeding up journey times.
I’m especially proud of the mayor’s universal free school meals programme, which I am helping to deliver in my role as deputy mayor for children and families. This programme means an extra 287,000 primary school pupils will receive a nutritious school lunch, making life a bit easier for families by providing a healthy meal and making sure our children are ready to learn.
My job of standing up for Enfield residents has also included demanding increased capacity along Great Northern’s Hertford Loop railway line into Moorgate – two trains an hour off-peak is half the service than before the pandemic, and too many are cancelled at short notice, especially at peak times. I’ve also been urging London Overground to increase capacity on the Liverpool Street line from Enfield Town.
As your voice in City Hall I will continue to fight your corner and help deliver a safer, greener and better off Enfield.