It’s been a tough week this week. I was angry and disappointed to learn that my former deputy had made some very serious errors of judgement when it came to expenses. He rightly stepped down and we must now move on.
I won’t gloss over my own issue with expenses. Despite being a fanatical cyclist, I have had to use taxis over the past year to travel to official functions as Mayor. To be honest, I always prefer using the bike, even to very posh functions. However, sometimes using a taxi is unavoidable.
When I was elected, I promised that I would be open and transparent – for good or for bad. Even though the release of information about expenses can be and has created negative media stories, I believe that is a price worth paying for a truly accountable mayoralty.
And it is important to focus on our broader efforts to run an open and value for money City Hall. We have made significant savings, such as cutting the media budget by £700,000 and closing down the office in Venezuela, saving £100,000.
We publish all spending over £1,000 and, more importantly, City Hall no longer spends money on narrow political causes. I am pleased to report we have not held any lavish lunches with South American dictators!
All this has enabled us to freeze our share of the council tax for the first time in 8 years.
So, I believe we have a good record when it comes to respecting your money, using it with care and in a transparent manner. I will always be in favour of shining a light into dark corners, and one thing I will promise is that you will never see anything blacked out when it shouldn’t be in any document we publish.
Boris is on Blue Blog http://www.conservatives.com/News/Blogs.aspx