Khan: London is tech city in spite of Uber dispute

Catherine Neilan
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The Mayor of London has insisted he wants the capital to be “a centre for disruptive technology and innovation”, despite TfL’s battle with Uber.

Sadiq Khan told City A.M. the move to withhold the ride-hailing app’s licence - which will be appealed - was a matter for Uber and the regulator to address, but said he wanted innovative businesses to thrive in the capital.

“I want good businesses who play by the rules to come to London and stay in London,” he said. “The rules are there for everyone, whether you’re a big private hire vehicle operator or small one, whether you have an army of PR experts and lawyers or you don’t.”

The “humility” of Uber’s new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi “vindicated” Transport for London’s decision, he added.

Last month TfL said Uber was “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence".

Khan was speaking shortly after the CBI’s annual autumn lunch, where he called on the government to secure an agreement around “qualified” freedom of movement after Brexit.

He said the government was “in danger of cutting off its nose to spite its face” in seeking to be seen as tough on immigration.

“The consequence of that is going to be the economy suffering, and us being poorer economically and culturally.”

Khan, who met the Prime Minister on Tuesday to discuss this among other issues, said the UK could get a “better deal” than Norway or Switzerland currently has with the EU, which would allow fettered free movement of people.

“At the moment Theresa May doesn't show much flexibility, but I was keen to get across my concerns about the consequences of Brexit to London's jobs growth and prosperity,” he said. “The idea that we are going to build more homes, when EU construction workers are leaving, is head in the clouds thinking,” he added.

“She needs to recognise the uncertainty caused by her failure to give cast iron certainty is leading to Londoners who are EU citizens leaving London, which ain’t good for London.”

The mayor stressed the EU must show flexibility, “but they are keen for us to be close to them after Brexit, and there's a deal to be done”, he added.

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