With Londoners across the capital attending a host of celebrations to say farewell to 2014 and welcome in 2015, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
“2014 has been a spectacular year for our city with all sorts of records being claimed. More people are using the buses than before, more people are using the Tube and more people are cycling – 580,000 journeys by bike every day. Crime is down. We are building record numbers of homes, more than in any year since 1980, and on course to build 100,000 affordable homes by 2016. We've successfully reopened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and welcomed even more visitors to the city than in 2013, when we knocked Paris and New York off the top spot.
“Next year promises to be even better. We will begin constructing the first Tube extension in 15 years on the Northern Line. We are planning for the beautiful Garden Bridge, as well as the cultural quarter that will be Olympicopolis in Stratford. We're also starting work on two massive cycle superhighways, east to west and north to south and, for the first time in its history, we will see the Tube running 24 hours at weekends.
“I have no doubt that London will continue to be at the forefront of our country's improving economy. We are seeing more and more jobs being created and I have just announced more funding to boost apprenticeships, which along with training, will give more Londoners the skills they need to play their part in our city's future prosperity. It is critical that all Londoners can benefit from the recovery - that's why I'm urging more companies, large and small, that can afford to pay their staff the London Living Wage, to do so in 2015.
“We've seen a massive uptake in firms paying the living wage as employers realise the benefits - from increased productivity to improved employee loyalty. For some of the lowest paid Londoners it's made a real difference, putting money back into the pockets of thousands of families across the city.
“Of course we face huge and continued challenges, which I as your Mayor, along with my team at City Hall, will continue to work hard to tackle head on. As we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in 2015, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish every one of you a very peaceful, fulfilling and above all a very happy New Year.”