Some of you may of already read over at Omar’s blog that the London Assembly Tories’ disgraceful attempt to thwart the Mayor of London’s budget was unsucessful on Wednesday.
Mayor Ken Livingstone, (pictured above centre) was joined by Jennette Arnold, Waltham Forest’s London Assembly Member (pictured directly to Ken’s left), members of the South Eastern TUC, students and young people from all over the capital, to protest at the London Assembly Tories’ threat to the Mayor’s free travel for Under-18s scheme.
A little while later, I joined the protest with London Labour Assembly Members Joanne McCartney (pictured second from left) who represents Enfield and Haringey, Val Shawcross (pictured third from left) who represents Lambeth and Southwark, and London’s Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron (pictured centre) who leads on London’s Children and Young People’s policy for the Mayor. NUS activist Richard Angell (pictured far left) and Southwark Local Councillor Andrew Pakes (pictured directly to my left) also came along to show their support.
Commenting on the Assembly debate, which finally agreed the Mayor’s draft budget, Mayor Ken Livingstone said:
“The large number of Assembly members who voted to abolish the free bus travel concession benefiting thousands of families with children should be the cause of real concern across London.
They have not given up on these cuts.
The budget debate has seen free bus travel for under-18s safeguarded for now but there are some members of the London Assembly who seem to want to abolish anything that is free.
Free school milk, free entry to museums, the Freedom Pass, and now free bus travel for under-18s – anything that is free gets threatened.
‘The nasty wing of politics is alive and active on the London Assembly and we should not take today’s safeguarding of free bus travel for children as the end of the attacks on this scheme”.
I couldn’t agree more.
Well done to NUS and the Trades Unions, particularly the TGWU, for organising such a fab protest and for sticking up for London’s low income families.