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Livingstone promises to support small firms and cut fares in Crouch End

12:24 29 March 2012

Ken Livingstone in Crouch End. Pic: Tony Gay.

Ken Livingstone in Crouch End. Pic: Tony Gay.

TONY GAY at tonephote@aol.com

London Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone promised to support small businesses and cut rail fares during a visit to Crouch End last week.

Mr Livingstone spoke to passers-by and traders in The Broadway on Friday before moving on to Islington aboard his Fare Deal Express bus, as part of a two-week tour of all 32 London boroughs.

Speaking beside Hornsey Town Hall square, he told the Journal: “I can absolutely guarantee if I get four more years as Mayor, every decision I take will be about what’s right for London.”

Referring to incumbent Conservative Party candidate Boris Johnson, he added: “He wants to be the next leader of the Tory Party – he hasn’t really done much for London, he’s promoted himself.

“I have no desire to be the next leader of the Tory Party so I don’t have to calculate how [being mayor] plays with the Tory rank and file.”

One of Mr Livingstone’s key election policies is to cut rail fares in the capital by seven per cent – a pledge he reiterated during his speech over a megaphone during Friday’s visit.

He said: “At the moment, there is a £330 million fare surplus this year. All I’m saying is we’ll give £269 million of that back into Londoners’ pockets.

“There will still be a surplus – we’ll still have the highest fares in the world.”

Mr Livingstone, who served two terms as Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008, insisted he would help small businesses and encourage enterprise, explaining: “We’ve got to get back to small businesses being able to actually borrow money and expand.

“One of the things I want to do is see us teaching kids in schools how to set up a business.”

He also criticised the cut in the top rate of tax – meaning that “almost half a million pensioners in London are now going to have to pay £83 a year more in tax, so people like Boris are tens of thousands of pounds better off”.

Mr Livingstone was joined during his visit by One Foot in the Grave actor Richard Wilson.

He said: “I thought he was a wonderful mayor and I want to see him back again. I thought it was a crying shame that we lost him. “I just think Ken tells it as it is – he’s a really honest, straightforward politician. There’s not very many of them around.”

This year’s Mayoral election is on May 3.

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