Corbyn-backing Sadiq Khan would be a disaster for London’s thriving economy

Sajid Javid
Sadiq Khan's unfunded fares freeze pledge would blow a hole in vital transport investment (Source: Getty)

When it comes to business, London’s mayoral election matters for the whole country.

Britain’s economy is deeply interconnected. A startup in Bristol will hire a design agency in Soho to help them market their product online; a Leeds manufacturer will draw on finance and legal advice from firms in the City.

For better or for worse, the fate of small businesses across the country rests in part on a strong London economy. If London takes a knock, we all feel it.

That’s why the mayoral election on 5 May is so important. The next mayor will be in charge of over a fifth of the UK economy – the most jobs-rich, tax-generating, wealth-creating part of the whole country.

They’ll have a strong legacy to build on. London has boomed under Boris. Since 2010, he’s delivered 400,000 new jobs for Londoners and secured London’s position as the pre-eminent global business centre.

But this didn’t happen by accident. Boris took power in the depths of Labour’s Great Recession. London is where it is today because he worked with this Conservative government to keep our economy strong: freezing mayoral council tax, securing record investment in transport, and crisscrossing the globe to win business for the capital.

Zac Goldsmith’s Action Plan for Greater London will lock in that legacy. It’s an Action Plan to spread London’s success to all parts of our city, with more homes, better transport, safer streets and cleaner air. It’s fully-funded, which means Zac can commit to freeze the council tax that Sadiq Khan would raise, and it will create over half a million new jobs.

Crucially, it depends on a mayor who can work with this government to secure the funds and powers to get things done, whether it’s nailing down a deal on Crossrail 2 or releasing public land for development.

But all of this is at risk on 5 May.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is the most anti-business, anti-jobs and anti-aspiration party this country has ever seen. Between them, Corbyn and Khan want to scrap the City of London, abolish the Bank of England’s independence, ban dividends, bring back flying pickets and whack up taxes on Britain’s job creators.

For Corbyn’s supporters, this is their best chance yet to enact this agenda. It’s why Labour and the unions are absolutely determined to get their man into City Hall on 5 May.

Khan’s talked up his pro-business credentials, but there are two things you need to know: he backed Corbyn for Labour leader, and he says he would do it again.

His continuing support for Corbyn shows he still can’t be trusted by sensible, aspirational Londoners. A Khan victory, and the boost it would give his leader, sends out a clear message that London is closed for business.

But it’s not just the message, it’s the very real economic impact of Khan’s half-baked policy package.

At the heart of his manifesto is a gaping £1.9bn black hole, one which can only be filled by scrapping vital transport investment. This would be a disaster for London’s businesses. Late trains and exhausted commuters hit the bottom line. And without a transport network that can cope with a rising population, London’s growth will stall.

It’s why there’s a very clear choice at this election, between a city moving forward with Zac Goldsmith, or a city held at the platform with Sadiq Khan.

Whoever wins the mayoralty next month will have the task of steering London through the choppy waters of the global economy.

At stake are new jobs, transport you can rely on to get you home on time, and the economic security of the whole country.

Londoners need a mayor who can work with this government to deliver the growth and investment that London needs, not a mayor at loggerheads with this government and in debt to the Corbyn machine.

Only Zac Goldsmith has the Action Plan London needs. And the country needs it too.

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.

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