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Agenda item

London Assembly update

Leonie Cooper, Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth


Leonie Cooper, Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth, provided an update on the work of the London Assembly. Leonie was in Mitcham today talking to local businesses on Willow Lane industrial estate and has been on a call about development in the area.


Assembly is still looking at COVID issues, a new report by Imperial College London commissioned by the Mayor of London showed strong links between air pollution and greater risk of COVID hospitalisation in addition to the previously established links to ethnicity and deprivation.


The Mayor and London boroughs have offered to help resettle refugees from Afghanistan. Mayor has offered Help to Buy Back fund to local council to source homes for refugees. They have also set up London Refuge Response to coordinate donations and have been overwhelmed by the response. The Mayor has committed a £400k fund to tackle hate and racism. The Mayor is setting up Creative Enterprise Zones to support Londoners who are unemployed or in low paid work including last support from European Social Fund. There is also £5m for Academies Hub to address skills gaps in key sectors like construction.


The Assembly recently questioned Transport for London about the current funding deal which runs out in December, and TfL needs long term solution. The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is being expanded to South Circular from 25 October. Current zone has reduced NO2 by 44% and we expect the expanded zone to have a similar impact on encouraging people to change their vehicle. The Assembly asked about keeping public transport COVID secure, including mask mandate. Elizabeth Line trials going well, after many delays, hoping to open in first half of 2022.


The Assembly has called for £20 uplift to Universal Credit to stay, for increased pay for police, solutions to supply issues, for support for HIV in London, restrictions on Freedom passes to be reduced. The Mayor of London has committed to funding social housing, up to 79,000 starts, that are environmentally sustainable.


Violent Crime Reduction unit working with 9 housing associations to reduce crime and divert young people. 


If any residents have any issues for Leonie they can email to


Cllr Agatha asked what is being done to tackle violence against women. Leonie said the Home Office announced an inquiry into police behaviour relating to Sarah Everards. Leonie has been meeting regularly with Borough Command Unit and discovered that unconscious bias training is voluntary and feels this should be compulsory for all officers. There has been a debate about the Commissioner, but neither Home Sec nor Mayor have asked her to leave and expect the Commissioner to stay. Misogyny should be designated a hate crime. Leonie expects this will be an ongoing issue at the Assembly and she will be meeting with the Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden to push for more actions.


Cllr Macauley asked about the cuts to the criminal justice system and the significant backlog in the courts, and if the Mayor has lobbied the government to invest in the system.

Leonie said that the Mayor doesn’t have control of that area of the criminal justice system so is limited to lobbying, either publicly or privately. There is a widespread recognition that investment is needed to resolve the backlog. It can take up to five years for cases to come to trial. Lobbying is taking place as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review but Leonie was happy to follow up directly.


Cllr Fraser asked about police officer arresting someone when not in uniform. Leonie said it was really important to change the training to address these issues as well as look at the culture within the organisation as it is clearly not just bad apples. This incident undermines confidence in the police making their job much harder.