LONDON: Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced he was pressing ahead with plans to end the Greater London Authority’s tenure of the landmark glass building beside Tower Bridge and move to a small converted conference centre beside the Royal Docks.
He said the move would save £61m over five years – £6m more than at first envisaged – at a time he was having to make almost £500m of cuts to public services, including the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Evening Standard has reported.
But his critics called it a “half-baked plan based on dodgy numbers” and said it would reduce the status of London government.
Susan Hall, leader of the GLA Conservatives, said: “City Hall is an iconic building which has been home to London’s democracy for nearly 20 years. It will be a sad sight to see moving vans outside it.”
The move was first proposed by Mr Khan in June after being told that the GLA’s income from council tax and business rates was likely to fall by £493m over the next 18 months.
He said activating a “break clause” in the City Hall lease would enable GLA staff and the London Assembly to move to The Crystal, already in GLA ownership, and would speed the regeneration of the Royal Docks. Mr Khan said today: “My first priority will always be to protect funding for front-line services for Londoners.