Greater London Authority

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Politics of the United Kingdom

The Greater London Authority (GLA) administers the 1579 sq. km. (610 sq. miles) of Greater London, covering the 32 London boroughs and the City of London. Starting on its functions on 3 July 2000, the authority consists of an elected Mayor and 25-member Assembly. The present Mayor is Ken Livingstone, formerly (1981-1986) leader of the Greater London Council (GLC).

This current organisation to some extent replaces the Greater London Council (1965-1986), which was abolished by Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher on grounds of alleged inefficiency, but also because elected Labour Party members were commonly in the majority, and in particular because of Livingstone's then radical populist policies and spending on social programmes.

The GLA was created to improve the coordination of the various London boroughs, and the Mayor of London's role is to give London a single person to represent it. The Mayor proposes policy and the authority's budget, and makes appointments to the capital's strategic transport body (Transport for London) and economic development body (the London Development Agency).

One of the primary purposes of the London Assembly is to hold the Mayor of London to account, and to scrutinise their actions and decisions. The Assembly must also accept or amend the Mayor's budget on an annual basis.

Although weaker than the GLC, the GLA has some powers that the GLC never had, such as the right to appoint members of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) which oversees the Metropolitan Police Service. The MPA is made up of members of the London Assembly, members appointed by the Mayor, and independent Magistrates. Policing in London was previously the responsibillity of the Home Secretary.

The GLA is also responsible for the London Fire Brigade, which is run by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA). The LFEPA is made up of members of the London Assembly, and councillors from the London boroughs, and is accountable to the Mayor.

The Greater London Authority should be distinguished from the Corporation and Lord Mayor of the City of London, which only control the square mile of the city, London's chief financial centre. While the Greater London Authority has a modern constitution, the organisation of the City of London has barely changed since the middle ages, and is mainly controlled by City business interests.

The GLA is based at City Hall, a new building on the south bank of the River Thames, next to Tower Bridge.

After the 2004 elections, Conservatives had the largest party representation (9 AMs) followed by 7 from Labour, 5 Liberal Democrats, 2 Greens and 2 from UKIP. The Labour AMs declared that with a new Labour Mayor in place they did not see that it was appropriate to hold him to account as Assembly Members which has resulted in the Tories and LibDems agreeing to alternate the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Assembly between them and also of a number of committees of the Assembly. This is not an agreement on policy matters.

See also

External link

no:Greater London Authority


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