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London must not be sacrificed in age of austerity

As was recently reported, I am taking a hands-on approach to the Mayoralty - from basting the family Christmas Turkey down in the kitchens of Mansion House to defending the City's interests against Nicholas Sarkozy's plans for European domination, I am not afraid to get my hands dirty!

That is why, if I were to make one New Year's resolution - other than beating the nine Red Arrows pilots who will be running this year's London Marathon with me - it would be to ensure that the City receives all the support it needs in order to retain its status as a world class centre for business, culture and education and that our 8,000 residents can continue to live in an environment that is clean, safe and well-serviced.

I am kicking off 2010 by welcoming The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Merrick Cockell, Leader of London Councils to Mansion House for the annual London Government
Dinner. London is home to 12 per cent of Britain's population and yet it contributes 20 per cent of economic output whilst also raising a tax surplus of more than £15 billion which is then spent across the rest of the UK. When London succeeds, so too does the rest of the country..

This year's dinner will doubtless be dominated by a single theme - how to guarantee our future prosperity in the face of difficult economic circumstances, a massively depleted public purse and, perhaps most importantly, with a General Election looming just over the horizon.

2010/11 is going to be a very tough financial year for London's councils,
with some estimates pointing to real cuts, outside education, of 15 per cent over four years.
I know that borough leaders across London, as well as my colleagues at Guildhall, are working hard to increase efficiency and to deliver services in a way that keeps a lid on expenditure but does not reduce quality.

In return, it is vital that our next government, whichever colour it may be, continues to invest in large infrastructure projects that will safeguard London's future, particularly with regards to transport.

The situation is simple, London desperately needs Crossrail.

London's tube network also needs to continue with its programme of renewal.

To sacrifice our long-term prosperity for short-term gain would be unforgivable and throughout my time in office I shall continue to vociferously argue the case for these essential upgrades.

There is no doubt that these are difficult times but as a long time City resident - my three daughters were born, raised and schooled here - I want to be able to look back on my year in office with a real sense of achievement, safe in the knowledge that the City of London will continue to thrive in the years to come.