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City Matters 104

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Page 4 | 07 - 20 August

Page 4 | 07 - 20 August 2019 News Matters Criminals want no-deal Brexit, says Mayor Sadiq Khan The Mayor of London has claimed that criminals want a no-deal Brexit, in a series of controversial comments at Mayor’s Question Time, writes Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter. Sadiq Khan said leaving the European Union without a deal would weaken Britain’s ability to police across borders. But critics dismissed his statements as “shameless” and “singularly unimpressive”. The Mayor said a no-deal exit from the EU would slow down extraditions from European countries, and limit police access to information shared internationally – making it easier for criminals to operate. He said: “If you’re a criminal you want there to be no-deal Brexit – you don’t want the authorities to trace and track you. Consequences “That’s why I think it’s really important for us to wake up on the consequences of us leaving the EU, but even worse the consequences of us leaving without a deal.” He called again for the government to revoke Article 50 and halt Brexit to protect jobs in the Capital. But Conservative assembly member Keith Prince, speaking on Twitter, described the Mayor as “shameless”. Referring to Mr Khan’s comments on criminals, he said: “In a crowded field this may be the most ridiculous thing he’s ever said at Mayor’s Question Time.” The Brexit Alliance Group said they were “singularly unimpressed” with the Mayor’s claims, and fundamentally opposed his position on Brexit. Tower Bridge cooled to prevent jamming AS temperatures in the Capital approached record highs, conditions were so extreme that City of London Corporation cleansing teams cooled the middle of London’s iconic Tower Bridge to prevent it from jamming shut because of heat expansion. The heat saw the two sides of the bridge expand, leading to fears that the 15mm gap separating them would shrink. It’s estimated that the 76m-long retractable centre of the bridge can expand by up to 30mm in extreme conditions, such as those experienced during the mini heatwave. Sprayed Without a gap, there would have been serious difficulties in opening and closing the bridge for the four lifts scheduled throughout the day. As well as carrying around 10,000 vehicles per day across the Thames, some 12,000 passenger journeys are made daily along the river at the height of summer. With the help of some of the City Corporation’s fully-electric fleet of street sweepers, workers sprayed water an hour before each lift to keep traffic flowing. Jeremy Simons, chair of the City Corporation’s port heath and environmental services CITYMATTERS.LONDON LINE’S COSTS HAVE CLIMBED FROM £2.8BN TO £17.6BN UNREALISTIC expectations and a failure to understand challenges were “hugely damaging” to the delivery of Crossrail, according to a new report, writes Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter. Senior staff were overly optimistic about progress on the line, clinging to the original opening date for too long, Westminster’s public accounts committee has said. The new railway – set to connect Reading and Heathrow to central London, Essex, and the south east of the City – was due to open in December last year. Revised But the central part of the line could now open as late as March 2021, with no date set for the full service to open. Meanwhile, costs have climbed from £2.8billion to £17.6bn. And the railway may still miss this revised start date, with costs likely to continue climbing, according to the report. The committee criticised the large bonuses paid to staff even as the project faced delays – former chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme was paid £481,000 in 2016 and £160,000 in 2017. This brought his total pay in those years to £946,000 and £736,000 respectively. Caroline Pidgeon, deputy chair of the London Assembly’s transport committee, said the Switch your soap for social good. The Soap Co. is a hand-crafted ethical luxury brand that creates beautiful products that are good and do good. Right down to the glue that seals our soap wrappers we strive to reduce our impact on the environment and our revenues create employment for our blind or otherwise disabled or disadvantaged staff. Find out more at thesoapco.org/office city_matters Over-optimism ‘hugely damaging’ for Crossrail more controversy: development of the Crossrail line has been a bumpy road report was “another damning indictment” of Crossrail’s management. She said: “These failings are ultimately the cause of an increased cost to the public purse and the project being delayed. “Despite the perilous financial situation and ongoing project issues, it is utterly dismaying to know Crossrail executives were still being paid huge bonuses.” She added: “Lessons must be learnt urgently in order to finish the project and to set a new precedent for future major infrastructure projects.” The public accounts report also criticised the Department for Transport – which co-funds Crossrail – for failing to understand work on the project and properly scrutinise the use of taxpayer money. But a spokesperson for the Department for Transport said they “consistently” challenged Crossrail bosses, and “acted swiftly and effectively” to change the leadership once problems became clear. A spokesperson for Crossrail said: “The Elizabeth line is one of the most complex infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and we recognise many of the challenges raised in the Public Accounts Committee report. “We are fully focused on completing the Elizabeth line and ensuring a safe and reliable passenger service as quickly as possible.” cooling operation: tackling the heatwave committee, said: “On a day of such extreme heat, we’re playing our part in ensuring that London stays on the move, including at iconic locations like Tower Bridge. “With the help of a state-of-the-art sweeping and cleaning fleet, our staff have been working around the clock to minimise disruption, while ensuring there is minimal impact on the environment. “With their efforts and quick thinking, we’re making sure that Londoners and visitors can enjoy the sunny weather and get on with their day.”

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