Introduction by Mayor Jules Pipe
The London Youth Games were launched with support from London’s boroughs in 1977. Back then few would have dared to imagine that Youth Games alumni, including Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins and Jo Roswell, would have been winning gold medals in the momentous Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012, but win they did.
The euphoria surrounding the London Olympic and Paralympic Games nearly 12 months ago helped demonstrate to the world what we have long known; London is a remarkable, energetic, inclusive and genuinely global city.
London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London are central to the capital’s success. They ensure that the diversity of people and places for which London is renowned is nurtured and developed, that the local services Londoners depend on – from street cleaning and waste management to adult care and education – are delivered effectively and efficiently, and that local communities have a strong voice in the decisions which affect their day-to-day lives.
Our support for the London Youth Games shows how London’s councils have taken the long view in nurturing talent and ensuring opportunity for all. Last year London’s boroughs were intimately involved in the 2012 Games throughout the build-up and delivery and their success is something in which we can all take pride.
The 2012 Games showed the importance of London Councils’ role in adding value to the work of the boroughs in its role as an interface between boroughs, the Greater London Authority and emergency services, in city management and resilience. It provided essential behind the scenes co-ordination and communications infrastructure, playing a small but vital role in delivering the success of the Games.
The Olympics were great, but the past year also saw the capital’s 33 local authorities continue to successfully face up to the enormous challenges of the on-going economic and financial squeeze at the same time as protecting and improving services for Londoners.
By the end of 2014/15 local government will have seen a £10 billion, or 35 per cent, reduction in core government funding nationally. This must be managed in the context of increased demand for services − not least in London where a complex and rapidly expanding population has been undercounted and underfunded for years.
In this context, London Councils’ role as a single cross-party voice making the case for Londoners has been more important than ever. It has forcefully been making the case to maximise funding on behalf of the boroughs, across a broad range of issues. This year in particular on schools funding, public health, housing and youth remand services.
Governing a capital city as diverse and dynamic as London will always involve a complex relationship of national, regional and local government. But Londoners have a right to expect that the machinery of government works for them and their families. They want the ability to have a genuine say in the decisions that affect their lives and they want good quality services delivered at the lowest possible cost. More often than not this means services designed and delivered at the level of government closest to the communities they serve.
London’s boroughs have a proud record of delivering for Londoners and making it a great city in which to live and do business. Over the past year, London Councils has continued to play an important enabling role, ensuring that the boroughs have the maximum possible resources and powers to deliver for Londoners in years to come.
Mayor Jules Pipe