It’s a wonder Boris Johnson even chose to release his latest opinion poll (pdf). With just under a year to go until the London Mayoral elections, one might assume the Tory Mayor would be overstating his ‘achievements’. Instead, Johnson yesterday published a poll clearly highlighting his failures in office.
The Mayor’s survey, which interviewed more than 1,000 Londoners face-to-face, found people are unhappy with the management of policing, housing and ticket pricing in the city.
Fewer Londoners say they are seeing police on the streets, while 54 per cent of those polled said more officers on foot would make them feel safer in their local area. A figure found too late perhaps, since Boris is proposing to cut officer numbers by 1,000.
Only 3% regard the range of available housing a plus side of living in London, while the number of those who consider the cost of housing a ‘major problem’ is up 10 points since 2009. If Boris wants to fix this, he must to stick to his pledge of building 50,000 new affordable homes.
Fear of unemployment has risen almost threefold since Boris became Mayor (14% now consider it a ‘major problem’, compared with 5% in 2009). Perhaps some of those polled were the 1,000 tube staff about to lose their jobs, or the 30,000 in local government in fear of being sacked. If the Mayor is to ward off rising levels of unemployment and help vitalise London’s economy, it might make sense to halt redundancies and prevent the closures of local Job Centres.
Almost half those polled believe transport fares to be too high, the figure up by a third. Yet Boris Johnson has committed London to 20 years of above inflation fare rises, and this year raised prices yet again, with no consideration of higher living costs due to VAT rises.
The Mayor even had the cheek to raise child travel by 50% – particularly tough at a time when his chums in government are cutting Education Maintenance Allowance.
The second most discussed travel grievance among Londoners was traffic, with 37% saying it is an aspect that needs improving. This comes as no surprise since Boris recently cut the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge, a scheme which clearly helped reduce the number of vehicles travelling through central London.
Londoners are showing a clear distaste with Boris’s handling of transport, crime and housing. While the public call for lower fares, more police and affordable homes, the Conservative Mayor is doing the opposite. That a record number of people polled in his own survey believe Boris is doing ‘nothing at all’ for London speaks volumes.
Boris himself said of the results in last night’s Standard:
“There is still much to be done.”
Time is running out; the Mayor has only 343 days left with which to do it.