Sunday 4 March 2012 10:48 pm

Boris: Britain must resist EU red tape

BORIS Johnson has called on the government to boost transport spending, launch a crackdown on people dodging stamp duty and for Britain to pay less attention to EU rules. The London Mayor said economic growth “revolves around” improving the transport system, despite the pressure on public spending, and called on the Treasury to tackle the “scandal” of people avoiding stamp duty by selling property through offshore companies. “I want massive investment in infrastructure; I want to help young people into work; and I want to crack down on tax dodgers and tax avoiders of all kinds,” he told the Andrew Marr Show. Johnson, who launched his re-election bid on Saturday, also said Britain was following EU regulations more closely than other member states. “We gold plate it, we over-egg it… we make it very difficult sometimes for our businesses to comply in a reasonable way.” It came 24 hours after Johnson used the start of his campaign to issue a stinging attack on Livingstone, after suggestions the former Mayor had avoided £50,000 in tax by paying himself through a personal company. Johnson accused him of presiding over “a bunch of Trotskyist, car-hating, Hugo Chavez idolising, newt-fancying hypocrites and bendy bus fetishists”. He also boasted he had cut the Transport for London “empire” by 23 buildings and 6,235 desks over the last four years and said City Hall was saving £30m a year on staff costs despite taking on more functions. Johnson has launched a nine-point plan including the ambition to create 200,000 jobs by 2016 and to cut Tube delays by 30 per cent by 2015. The Livingstone campaign hit back, however, saying Johnson “is stuck fighting the stale arguments of the last election, when Londoners are crying out for action now to cut fares and ease the squeeze on their living costs.” •See tomorrow’s City A.M. for an interview with Boris Johnson. JOHNSON’S PLAN FOR A BETTER LONDON ● Cutting waste at City Hall – freeing up £3.5bn for services. ● Freezing the Mayoral share of council tax, saving each home the equivalent of £445 ● An ambitious plan to create 200,000 jobs over the next four years. ● Put an extra 1,000 police on the beat. ● Restoring 300 acres of green space and planting 20,000 street trees. ● Investing £221m to transform local high streets and support small businesses. ● A “true” Olympic legacy for the capital of 11,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs. ● Reduce Tube delays by 30 per cent by 2015, build Crossrail and orbital rail to link the suburbs and extending the bike hire scheme. ● Securing a better deal for London from central government. … and Ken’s vision ● Cut fares by seven per cent. Livingstone has promised to resign if he does not achieve this by 7 October this year. ● Freeze fares in 2013 and have no above inflation fare rises from the following year. ● Cut households’ energy bills by more than £150 a year through taking up money from energy companies for better insulation and bringing in bulk purchasing deals. ● Fund 1,700 extra police officers. ● Create a citywide non-profit lettings agency to cut rents and provide secure tenancies. ● Restore a term-time Educational Maintenance Allowance of up to £30 a week for London students using existing funds in colleges, universities and local authorities.