UNISON WARNING TO LONDON VOTERS AHEAD OF MAYORAL ELECTIONS

Ahead of the London Mayoral elections, UNISON, the UK’s largest union, is warning voters that if they care about public services they should vote carefully on May 3. The union said that current Mayor Boris Johnson has failed to stand up for London’s public services – citing cuts to London Ambulance Services, A&E wards closures and to policing since he has taken office. Linda Perks, Regional Secretary of UNISON London, said:

“Voters need to know the truth ahead of this week’s Mayoral elections. Tory Mayor Boris Johnson has failed to stand up for London’s public services. On his watch we have seen London Ambulance service hit with massive cuts, and he has failed to keep his pre-election promises to prevent A & E ward closures. These are damaging examples of Boris Johnson’s failure to stand up to his Tory colleagues in central government.

“As vital services disappear, it is hard-pressed Londoners who pay the price. London desperately needs a Mayor who is willing and able to stand up to the Tories and defend vital public services from damaging cuts.”

Boris’ failings and broken promises
The Tory Mayor failed to stand up to Andrew Lansley’s cuts to London’s frontline ambulance staff
. 890 London ambulance staff will be cut in the next 4 years, more than half of which are described as ‘frontline’ 140 have already gone –  just months before the Olympics. Non-emergency calls are now handled by ‘single responders’ rather than pairs or teams. Whilst the Tory Mayor does not have direct responsibility for ambulance staff or the NHS budget, his Tory colleagues Andrew Lansley and David Cameron do. Boris Johnson has failed to defend these jobs and services by failing to challenge his Tory colleagues in government effectively.

Boris Johnson broke his promise to campaign against Accident and Emergency ward closures in London. When he was trying to persuade Londoners to vote for him in 2008, Boris Johnson said that he would campaign against closures of A&E wards. However, when the Tory-led government started closing these wards, he said it was not ‘appropriate’ to intervene. On A&E and ward closures in King George Hospital in Redbridge, Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, Chase Farm hospital in Enfield – as well as on the recent announcement that 4 of 9 accident and emergency wards in North West London are to close – the Tory Mayor has been silent.

Boris Johnson has stayed silent on the Tory plan to privatise and rip up the NHS, even though the Mayor has a strategic role to ensure London’s health equality with a multi-million pound budget. In 152 pages of his manifesto for 2012 there is not a single mention of the NHS. The Tory Mayor’s silence speaks a thousand words. He supports Andrew Lansley’s NHS privatisation, but knows that to say so would be deeply unpopular.

Johnson’s campaigns advisor Lynton Crosby is linked to the Private Hospitals Alliance, a lobby group representing private health companies that stand to benefit enormously from the Tory plans for the NHS. Crosby’s company, Crosby-Textor, was being paid a retainer of £5,000 per month by the Private Hospitals Alliance, to do public affairs work for the H5 Private Hospitals Alliance.

Cuts to policing – Home Office figures show that between September 2011, and Sept 2010 there was a fall of 1,243 in the number of police officers on the capital’s streets.

ENDS

For further information or a comment, please contact Phil Thompson, Regional Organiser on 07961 088 164 p.thompson@unison.co.uk

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