London: New London Mayor Boris Johnson is seriously considering doing away with the city’s overseas offices in China, India, Venezuela and Brussels in a bid to cut costs.
Johnson said he is reviewing whether the Greater London Authority (GLA)’s outposts in Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Caracas and EU political centre Brussels, plus its consultant in Moscow, are worth keeping open.
The offices were a key part of former mayor Ken Livingstone’s strategy to promote the British capital as a hub for business investment and tourism.
Conservative maverick Johnson was voted into office in the 1May local elections, ousting left-wing veteran Livingstone and has set about trimming the City Hall budget.
The missions cost more than $2.8 million to run this year. “We have started the process of considering which of the GLA’s international offices perform a useful strategic function and deliver value for money,” Johnson said.
“We will look at the Brussels office and its role in pre-empting potentially harmful European legislation.
“We will consider the role of the Indian and Chinese offices in encouraging inward investment and business opportunities for London. “We will also look at which functions could be performed by the UK’s foreign embassies.”
The review, which will also consider sponsorship among other sources of funding, should be completed within six months.
Johnson has already said Livingstone’s cheap oil deal struck with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will not be renewed when it runs out on 20August and the Caracas office is already being wound down.