London cuts are madness, Boris tells PM

BORIS Johnson yesterday cornered David Cameron in crunch talks over public spending cuts planned for London, arguing that excessively heavy-handed measures would damage the capital’s standing as the economic powerhouse of the UK.

The Mayor has been vocal since the Budget last month in calling for care to be taken in London when implementing the efficiency savings which are crucial to reducing the deficit.

The issue was brought to the fore again yesterday at an annual luncheon organised by the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association (CLWCA), where Johnson was guest speaker. He was forced to bring forward the time of his speech in order to arrive punctually at a Whitehall meeting with the Prime Minister, convened at short notice.

Johnson said he had already been very active in delivering efficiency savings since taking up the Mayoral office in 2008, including cutting the number of jobs at the London Development Agency by half.

“I can take you around City Hall and show you a whole Mary Celeste floor, so many people have had to find alternative employment,” he told CLWCA members at the lunch. “It is vital that the new government understands that we have spent two years already making these cuts… It would be crazy if when the brakes [are applied], the coalition cuts projects like Crossrail, eats into infrastructure investment and does things which damage the UK economy.”

Downing Street declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting.

The 2012 Olympics were also top of the agenda at the meeting, ahead of a progress report to be published by the International Olympic Committee.