New Communist Party of Britain
This is just one section of the Main Political Resolution adopted at the 2009 16th Congress of the New Communist Party of Britain.
An index to the other sections can be found here -> [2009 Policy Documents]
London is one of the world’s great cities and is a hub of international capitalism, generating vast wealth. It is also a city of poverty, crumbling infrastructure and disjointed local authorities.
Local government is fragmented into 32 boroughs and the historic City of London. Each of these bodies has individual responsibility for housing and education and all the other services associated with a modern city. The lack of coordination with neighbouring boroughs means contradictory policies, services that vary wildly from borough to borough, duplication of work and an almost total lack of London−wide planning.
The infrastructure of London is in very poor shape. Londoners have got used to filthy, unstaffed, ramshackle railway stations, potholed streets and neighbourhoods of shabby, derelict buildings covered in litter and graffiti. London is a place of private wealth and public squalor and this cannot continue. There is a vast amount of work to be done.
The 1997 Labour government introduced the Greater London Assembly in a positive step towards effective regional government. Unfortunately the new GLA has very few of the powers and responsibilities of the old Greater London Council. Apart from a central role in transport planning in which it has achieved some success and the establishment of a weak Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the role of the GLA is very limited.
The MPA should have direct control over the police in London, answerable to the elected GLA rather than to the Home Secretary as at present;
The NCP supports an increase in the powers and scope of the GLA;
Council tax should be abolished and replaced with local rates, including an element to support the GLA;
Housing and education services should be transferred to the GLA from borough councils. This will provide flexibility and mobility in the provision of housing and guarantee that education is of a uniform standard throughout London; specialist educational services for children with special educational needs could me made available to and acceptable level for all who need them;
In addition to a large−scale programme of council house building, the GLA should bring the many empty and unused properties in London into public ownership, renovate them and make them available as social housing to rent;
The increased provision of publicly−owned housing and the ending of the right−to−buy programme will also dramatically bring down house prices for those who wish to buy;
The ongoing programme of replacement of London’s sewers and water pipes needs to be greatly expanded and the maintenance of streets and main roads should be a priority. Many are in a very poor state of repair and attending to these infrastructure problems would provide employment for many thousands of people;
With transport, the NCP aims for an integrated, publicly−owned, planned and funded service throughout London. The absurd fragmentation resulting from a large number of private bus companies and the endless disputes about funding and ownership of the London Underground have to be brought to an end;
Transport fares should be kept to a minimum with subsidies from central government as necessary. These subsidies would also reflect that many passengers who use public transport every day live outside the Greater London area, as well as a substantial number from overseas;
Buses and underground trains will be designed to maximise safety, comfort and capacity for all users. Adequate staffing is essential to speed up the service and particular importance should be given to the provision of conductors on all bus routes;
Congestion charging, by which all private vehicles entering central London have to pay a toll has made some difference. Further congestion charge zones may be necessary in other parts of the city.
A welcome result of these policies would be to greatly reduce private commuter traffic by car during the week.