London mayor Sadiq Khan launched his election manifesto today by promising Londoners that he would focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” if re-elected on 6 May.
The 100-page document, one-third larger in size than the Tories’ general election winning manifesto in 2019, outlined policies on areas such as the economy, the environment, transport, crime, housing and transport.
City A.M. went through the manifesto with a fine tooth comb to bring you a snapshot of the most significant policy announcements.
Economy and business
Khan has pledged to create a £32m “Good Work Fund” that would see the creation of new jobs and skills centres for Londoners as a part of a £544m package to help the capital bounce back from the economic effects of Covid-19.
He has also pledged to create a “recovery plan” for London post-Covid to help bolster a £6m campaign that will aim to get people back into central London as Covid-19 restrictions are eased further.
He also pledged to create more business support for Londoners with “a range of programmes helping start-ups and scale-ups across the key sectors of our economy”.
For the City of London, the incumbent mayor announced he would set up a new green financing facility to “bring more investment for infrastructure in London”.
One of the centrepieces of the mayor’s election campaign is a pledge to rally the government for the power to impose rent controls if he wins.
He has said an election victory would give him a mandate to impose caps on rent in the capital, despite this area of policy being in the remit of central government and not City Hall.
His manifesto said “we need an overhaul of legal protections for renters and for London to have the powers to establish a system of private-sector rent control”.
Khan has also set a target of building 10,000 new council homes over the next four years, after his office started building 3,000 council houses in 2019-20.
This is a part of a broader target Khan set in 2016 to build 116,000 affordable homes by 2022 thanks to a £4.82bn government grant.
The mayor has said he will create a new City Hall-owned property developer to deliver the rest of his housing programme if elected.
His manifesto also pledged to investigate whether to create a “right to buy back fund”, which would see councils able to buy back homes previously sold through right to buy.
He also included a policy to give “frontline health workers, firefighters and transport workers” first priority for new “intermediate homes, such as for shared ownership and London Living Rent”.
One thing to note is that Khan said he will “not apologise” if he has to increase council tax in the coming years, after hiking it by 9.5 per cent this year.
Khan said he would continue to lobby the government for a long-term funding solution for TfL, after the transport body has had to rely on rolling short-term grants to survive the effects Covid-19.
TfL saw its revenues plummet by 90 per cent at the start of the pandemic and they have not recovered since.
The body primarily relies on passenger fares to survive, meaning that it has few other ways to raise revenue while passenger numbers remain dented by Covid-19 restrictions.
Khan said he would “ensure TfL continues to be lean and efficient, minimising expenditure on consultants and agency workers” as a part of “achieving long-term financial sustainability”.
He also flagged a potential rise in the congestion charge to help bring TfL’s finances back in order if it does not receive more assistance from the government.
The manifesto promised to roll out 4G on every Tube line and to name the six London Overground lines.
He also pledged to ban gambling advertising on the Tube, after already banning junk food ads in 2018.
The three major transport infrastructure projects Khan would prioritise in a second term in office are the DLR Extension to Thamesmead, the Bakerloo Line extension and Crossrail 2.
The mayor said he would lobby the government for an extra £159m per year for the Metropolitan Police’s crime budget.
Khan said he would also continue to lobby the government to “deliver on its promise of 20,000 new officers nationwide and continue to make the case for London to receive the additional 6,000 officers the Commissioner and I both agree are needed”.
The manifesto also inlcudes a pledge to spend £187m in technology that will help the Met “make policing more efficient and safe”, with an emphasis on systems to help deal with “serious and organised crime, online fraud and cybercrime”.
A Khan victory would also see the creation of a new commission to investigate the effects of cannabis decriminalisation.
It should be noted that drugs policy is in the remit of central government and not City Hall.
The centrepiece of Khan’s package of environmental policies is a promise to create a new “green skills academy” on the way to creating 170,000 new green jobs.
This comes alongside an ambition to make London carbon neutral by 2030 and to drive investment into electric vehicles.
This includes creating 44,000 electric car charging points by 2030 and a commitment to push the government to provide funding for zero emission buses by 2030.
Khan will also expand his Ulez scheme in October this year if re-elected.
Monuments and memorials
Khan also included a number of initiatives in the manifesto to promote diversity and commemorate the victims of Covid-19.
He pledged to create a slavery memorial and a new event to celebrate black culture that would “build on the success of Africa in London”.
TfL will also create a memorial in honour of the transport workers that died from Covid-19, while a new garden of “blossoming trees” would be planted at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to commemorate every Londoner that died from Covid-19.