Why Sadiq Khan would be London’s most pro-business mayor yet

Saker Nusseibeh
The Labour Party Annual Conference
Sadiq doesn’t believe that increasing taxes is the best way forward to help business create jobs and generate wealth for all Londoners (Source: Getty)

London's prosperity depends on our city remaining an environment in which business is supported to grow and thrive. Like an increasing number of people in the business community, I believe Sadiq Khan will be the most pro-business mayor our city has ever had.

Before entering politics, Sadiq helped run a business, so he understands the challenges faced by people who set up, run and work in business. He understands that, unless entrepreneurs and small business owners have the freedom and support to innovate and grow, and unless bigger businesses are better able to retain and recruit top talent, we stand no chance of increasing social mobility, reducing unemployment or building a better future for all Londoners.

Sadiq doesn’t believe that increasing taxes is the best way forward to help business create jobs and generate wealth for all Londoners. And business will always have a seat at the table with him. During his campaign, he’s showed his readiness to engage – meeting business leaders from small, medium and large companies and listening to their concerns.

Importantly, he is committed to working to ensure London’s women business leaders play the leading role they should in this great city. It is absurd that others continue to ignore 50 per cent of our talent pool.

The business community wants a mayor with a long-term vision. That’s why Sadiq is backing major infrastructure projects like Crossrail 2, the proposed Bakerloo line extension and new river crossings to the east. I’m also encouraged that, unlike his opponent, Sadiq understands the need for additional aviation capacity for London, and has backed a second runway at Gatwick, while signalling a willingness to revisit Boris Johnson’s decision to block expansion at London City.

We also need a mayor who will increase London’s productivity and competitiveness by addressing London’s housing crisis, who has ideas for improving childcare provision and who will promote high pay and skills with business rate incentives for small firms who pay the London Living Wage.

Sadiq understands the importance of putting London’s SMEs centre-stage. Policies like protecting space for small businesses, promoting the provision of startup and small business space in new developments through the London Plan, and using City Hall procurement to better support small business will make a real difference.

I know that Sadiq will be an advocate for London business at home and aboard, doing all he can to attract inward investment and global business to our city. He’ll make sure City Hall engages with decision makers at UK and EU level, fight to protect our economy from unnecessary red tape and will defend London’s ability to attract top talent by standing up against the Home Office’s unfair visa rules.

Sadiq is also the pro-EU candidate. Like many in London’s business community, I am deeply concerned by Zac Goldsmith’s campaigning for Britain to leave the EU, and the threat that would pose. He would be an anti-European mayor, who has failed to engage with London’s business community, opposed increased airport capacity, and has a record of attacking business and blaming global trade for the world’s ills. That’s not what London’s business community wants or needs.

There are two leading candidates in this mayoral election, but only one is a genuinely pro-business candidate – Sadiq Khan. That’s why I, along with many other business people, am endorsing him today.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.