Lib Dem mayor candidate Caroline Pidgeon speaks about her ‘credible’ plan for London
PUBLISHED: 15:33 15 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:29 15 March 2016
Building on a political career in London over the past 18 years, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the capital’s mayor wants to show she has a “credible” plan to improve their city.
“I know City Hall inside out and I know first hand the issues Londoners are facing,” she told the Recorder.
A councillor in Southwark for 12 years, Mrs Pidgeon has spent eight years in the Greater London Assembly (GLA), where she specialised in transport and policing and crime matters.
Keen to make the city more cycle-friendly, Mrs Pidgeon wants to reduce the number of vehicles on London’s roads, starting with the number of lorries crossing the capital during rush hour.
“South Woodford for example has huge potential to get people onto their bikes to go to the park, to the gym or even to work,” she said during a visit to the area last week.
The aspiring mayor would introduce a tax on diesel vehicles driving through the congestion charge zone in central London, and look at rolling it out to all boroughs.
She hopes the scheme would also improve air quality, a problem she described as a “real issue” in Redbridge.
She also wants to invest more resources into the police force and particularly in PCSOs, who she believes are more diverse and better at picking up on small changes in communities to tackle isuses such as knife crime.
Giving “a massive boost” to the housing stock is one of Mrs Pidgeon’s top priority.
If elected, she has pledged to invest £2bn in building new homes – including 15,000 in her first year in office and 50,000 affordable homes within four years.
To finance the project, Mrs Pidgeon would replace the annual £20 Olympic precept imposed on each household to finance London 2012 by a housing levy of similar amount.
“This is a price worth paying to be able to pay for the homes we need,” she said.
The new homes would be delivered by a building company set up by City Hall, and a construction academy would train people to take on these new jobs, with no development taking place on the green belt.
But Mrs Pidgeon believes staying in the EU is key to attracting new businesses to the area.
The mother of one also said there was “a huge problem” in the provision of school and nursery places across the capital and promised to work with each borough to find ways to provide affordable child care for all families.
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