Boris confident of taking over London’s taxes

BORIS Johnson yesterday insisted he could convince the Treasury to devolve control of key taxes to City Hall by 2016, as part of an ambitious bid to give Londoners more control over how their money is spent.

The Mayor of London wants his office to be granted more power over infrastructure and education provision in the capital, with funding coming from the council tax, business rates and stamp duty paid by Londoners.

The capital’s central government grant would be reduced by an equivalent amount but City Hall would gain control over rates.

“We are engaged in endless hand-to-mouth negotiations with government about penny packets of finance. And we have no real certainty about the financing of very important projects beyond 2015,” Johnson said yesterday.

He said London was “fiscally infantilised” compared to the funding available to other major world cities such as New York or Madrid.

“There is a bunker mentality in London government in dealing with the Treasury and a nervousness about upsetting government and seeming too ambitious.”

“But this will be revenue neutral... It will give us consistency in funding and it will give us democratic accountability.”

Johnson insisted it was possible to reach agreement on the plans by the time his mayoral term ends in three years’ time.