London mayor election 2012: Older voters quiz candidates

They outlined their policies on key election issues such as transport, housing and crime to an audience of elderly Londoners

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Hundreds of older people from across London have had the chance to question the three main mayoral candidates.

Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson, Labour's Ken Livingstone and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick shared a platform for the first time since 2008.

Mr Johnson focused on Tube upgrades. All three said they would protect the freedom pass, with Mr Livingstone promising to extend it round-the-clock.

Mr Paddick said he would appoint a deputy mayor for older people.

Age UK London and the Greater London Forum for Older People (GLF), who hosted the event at Friends House in Euston, central London, called for the incoming mayor to make older people a priority.

Freedom pass 'protected'

Mr Johnson said: "We will not accept the attempt by the previous Labour government to erode the freedom pass and we will keep it as 60.

"We are going to continue with the modernising and the upgrading and the expansion of the Tube."

He said there were about 1,000 more police officers on the street since his election in 2008.

Labour's Mr Livingstone said his top three pledges were to cut down energy bills, extend the freedom pass and cut bus fares by 11% and Tube fares by 7%.

He said: "I will call an immediate meeting of all the main domestic energy providers to insure we get the maximum benefit from the insulation money that is on the table and press ahead and get as many homes insulated as we possibly can.

"I will protect the freedom pass. We'd make it 24/7 on the Overground as well."

Referring to Mr Johnson's £250,000 pay for writing for the Daily Telegraph, he added: "The only job I will do if you vote for me is be your mayor."

'Frequently marginalized'

Mr Paddick said: "I'm going to have a deputy mayor for older people so that we have somebody at the top of City Hall who focuses on older people issues.

"I want to see more town centre patrols."

He also promised to ring-fence and extend the use of the freedom pass.

Age UK's London chief Samantha Mauger said: "Over a quarter of London's population are aged 50 or over.

"In spite of this, London is often perceived as a young city and older Londoners are frequently marginalized."

The London Mayor and Assembly elections will be held on 3 May 2012. In order to vote you must be registered before 18 April.

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