DON'T SELL US SHORT

London Green Party on the proposed Greater London Authority

The new Labour government's proposal for a Greater London Authority does not give the power to a democratic assembly elected by and accountable to Londoners.

Instead we are invited to elect a mayor as chief executive, and a rubber stamp committee as a non-executive board of directors. The model is drawn from business, not democratic government. And in other countries such all-powerful mayors have brought corruption and incompetence in their wake.

The Green Party calls for a London Assembly which will be the democratic voice of Londoners, elected by and accountable to them. Such an Assembly must be large enough for its membership to have local connections and represent the range of views across London. It must be elected by proportional representation.

All power should not be concentrated in the hands of the mayor. It should be shared among the Assembly. The mayor should be chosen by the Assembly. They should elect the boards of the proposed London Transport Authority, Police Authority and others, instead of the mayor simply appointing them.

Missed opportunities

The Green Party supports giving the new Greater London Authority the responsibilities which are proposed. But the government is missing other opportunities to make London's government services accountable.

The GLA is to be responsible for transport in London. But under roads the government proposes to exclude the key arteries. Under public transport it will exclude the local railway services on which many Londoners depend. It will offer the GLA a mere "voice". If the government is serious about an integrated approach to transport, the GLA should have responsibility for the whole.

Environmental protection is to be a major concern of the GLA, but it is to be given no clear means of implementing it. Similarly the references to Agenda 21 and sustainable development lack teeth.

The GLA is to be responsible for the Metropolitan Police, but not the City of London Police, even though they will be within its area. The GLA is to be responsible for the Fire Service. But the Ambulance Service is to stay with the present failed and inadequate NHS trust arrangements. These anomalies should be removed, and responsibility given to a democratically accountable GLA.

Most telling is what the government proposes to keep for itself. It will hand over only some of the many responsibilities of its Government Office for London. If this government is serious about giving power to regions, let it make a start in London. It should hand over the whole of the Government Office for London to London's elected and accountable assembly, not keep GOL as a dependency of Whitehall.