The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is today demanding more help for those most in need in next week’s Spring Budget, as polling reveals that more than 40 per cent of Londoners are using less water, energy or fuel as a result of the cost of living crisis.
Sadiq argues that this is further evidence that next Wednesday’s Budget must be used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, to tackle the cost of living crisis and address the issues holding Londoners back from reaching their full potential.
The Mayor has today published a new YouGov poll commissioned by City Hall that reveals that 47 per cent of Londoners are now either ‘financially struggling’ or ‘just about managing’.
A huge 43 per cent are using less water, energy or fuel to help manage living costs. Half of those polled are currently spending less on non-essential items (50%).
Sadiq is doing all he can to support Londoners through the worst cost of living crisis in decades. Just last month he announced an historic £130m emergency scheme to provide every primary schoolchild in London with free school meals in the next academic year and will continue to call on the Government to provide this support permanently.
Sadiq has also highlighted findings that show that the total number of children living in poverty in just four of London’s boroughs: Newham, Tower Hamlets, Croydon and Brent (126,256) is similar to the total number in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds combined (129,090).
Now the Mayor is calling for the Chancellor to include the following measures in his Spring Budget:
A delay to the planned April increase in the Energy Price Guarantee and an ‘energy lifeline tariff’ to provide the most vulnerable households including disabled Londoners with a basic amount of energy before charges begin.
Following London’s lead and extending free school meals to all primary school children in the UK.
A substantial increase in central government support for affordable housing supply in London, and granting the Mayor power to freeze rents in the capital , like has happened in Scotland
An increase in the local housing allowance to support Londoners on housing benefit.
Significant support for reducing the cost of childcare.
Funding for scrappage schemes – While the Mayor is providing funding to help Londoners retrofit or replace highly polluting vehicles that are not compliant with the Ultra Low Emission Zone, ahead of the zone’s expansion in August, the scheme is not available for those outside London. The Government supported similar scrappage schemes in Bristol, Birmingham and Bradford, but has not extended the same support to Londoners or those in the Home Counties.
Sadiq has also repeated his call for the Government to reinstate tax-free shopping for overseas visitors to support the return of international tourists back to London as well as boost the retail and hospitality sectors, which have both been hard hit by both the pandemic and the rising cost of living. This would also raise an additional £350m for the Treasury each year.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The cost of living crisis continues to bite and millions of Londoners are crying out for more support from the Government in the Spring Budget.
“The fact remains that the capital is home to some of the most deprived communities in the country, and it is deeply worrying that 47 per cent of Londoners are now either financially struggling or just about managing to make ends meet.
“The Chancellor needs to recognise the dreadful impact of the cost of living crisis next week, particularly those most in need.
“London is the engine of the UK economy, and when the capital succeeds, so does the rest of the country. So if the Government can deliver a package of support that properly helps Londoners with the cost of living crisis it would benefit the whole country.
“I am doing everything I can to help Londoners during these difficult times – but we need Government to step up to the mark too.”
As well as investing £3.46bn into building the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need, the Mayor is currently spending more than £80m to help those struggling with the rising cost of living, including more than £50m to tackle fuel poverty through the Mayor’s Warmer Homes programme and energy advice services, more than £20m to improve security for private renters and house Londoners who are rough sleeping or homeless, more than £5m to connect Londoners with welfare advice, and £400,000 to tackle food insecurity. He is spending £400m on skills and employment programmes to support Londoners to find more secure work.
The Mayor also wants the Chancellor to boost the capital’s infrastructure by ensuring widespread gigabit data capacity and further transport investment to enable new homes to support the growing economy, both in the capital and the wider South-East.
He also urges the Chancellor to support development work by Transport for London and partners on the DLR extension to Thamesmead and West London Orbital railway, and to re-start it’s joint work on the Bakerloo line extension and Crossrail 2. These were stopped at the onset of the pandemic, and the Mayor believes it would be a vote of confidence in London and Britain to re-start these critical projects that enable hundreds of thousands of new homes and substantial economic opportunity.
Given reports of delays and budget cuts to HS2, the Mayor also calls on Ministers to reassure Londoners that they will see the full benefits of this once-in-a-generation opportunity. Hundreds of millions of pounds has been spent regenerating the Euston area and many affordable family homes have been demolished to make way for HS2, and this work must not be vain.