Mayor’s Question Time. I lead the charge today on fare evasion in London. 150 million fares have been dodged since Ken took office. Millions of pounds lost – with revenue inspectors only catching 1 in around 800 dodgers and us honest citizens having our fares banged up above inflation to help the Mayor out of his dodgy financial situation.
As ever, Ken gets annoyed about my inquisition and says you have to expect to lose some money. Only gets really cross when I point out to him that his new bendy buses are getting known as the ‘free bus’ because it is so easy to jump on and off without paying.
At this point came an unexpected endorsement from the Mayor – who said: “Hopefully you are going to Parliament so I will not have to put up with your questions much longer.”
He loves me really…
Later in the day, had an interesting meeting with British Sugar. I know. When I saw it in my diary I thought why am I having a meeting about sugar. But did you know – you can turn it into a bio-fuel? Perhaps the way forward for energy renewables?
Clearly hitting a brick wall of ‘can’t do’ at Transport for London who though interested appear immobilised on the issue, British Sugar have turned to us to help. I am intrigued as to what the obstacles really are as it seemed a pretty good thing for the Mayor to be seen to be getting involved in. Oh well – a bit of publicity and pressure and who knows?
Then a rush round meetings in the event. First, Hornsey Housing Forum as I want to add my two penny’s worth on the future of council housing in Haringey. The recommendation to Haringey Council’s Executive will be to transfer the housing to an ALMO (Arms Length Management Organisation). Of course it will be sold in the ballot that this is the only option viable if Haringey wants the money the government is offering. (It’s really a form of blackmail as the government will only hand over the money if people chose one of its preferred options for the future of council housing). But the small print will say – yes – but you have to gain two star status for the housing service to be eligible for the dosh anyway. There’s always a sting!
Then a Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Residents’ Association meeting. Diane Dodd – who heads the volunteer operation for Muswell Hill Police Station – is there to update everyone on how the newly reopened front counter is doing and how she is working to extend the hours.