The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has pledged to work with the new Prime Minister to create the high-wage, high-quality jobs Londoners deserve, saying he’ll always be prepared to put differences aside and work in the best interests of the capital and the country.
However, in a keynote address to an audience of influential leaders at The Centre for London’s flagship London Conference today, the Mayor will also warn that ‘Austerity 2.0’ is not the way forward or the route to sustainable growth and prosperity.
As the city faces multiple challenges from the fallout from Covid, the upheaval of Brexit, the climate emergency, growing inequality and the cost of living crisis, Sadiq will set out his vision for a London economy “firing on all cylinders” through “more devolution, a race to the top – not the bottom, and sustained investment”. The Mayor will point to how he is championing the London Living Wage and investing heavily in skills and retraining programmes, a Green New Deal for London and City Hall’s Anchor Institutions programme.
All of these initiatives are about creating the high-wage, high-quality jobs Londoners deserve, benefitting local communities and businesses, while at the same time helping to address longstanding inequalities and accelerating London’s shift to net-zero by 2030.
Sadiq will say he has a serious, sustainable, inclusive growth plan for London, which isn’t ‘Singapore on Thames or Austerity 2.0’, but about investing in London’s communities to help make sure the city works for everyone.
The Mayor will warn against “swingeing cuts” in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement later this month and encourage him to abandon his predecessor’s notion of trickle down economic gains from cutting taxes for the wealthiest and removing regulations. Instead, Sadiq will call for Government to deliver “a better Brexit deal, a more flexible approach to immigration so we can access talent, greater funding for green infrastructure and an end – once and for all – to the divisive anti-London approach of recent years.”
Sadiq will also say “the London promise – the idea that if you work hard, you get a helping hand, and you can achieve anything – is under serious threat as economic forces are rapidly eroding any expectation that the next generation will be better off than the last.”
Sadiq will once again demand the Government act now to mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis, which is set to hit the most vulnerable Londoners hardest over the winter. His message to Ministers is clear: “give me the powers to freeze private rents in London for two years, as well as increase welfare benefits in line with inflation and roll out free school meals to all primary school pupils.”
It is only with this support that the Mayor can build on what he has already achieved – record affordable homebuilding, greener and more affordable transport, cleaner air, introducing a public health approach to tackling crime – and continue to continue build “a better London for everyone, a city that is fairer, safer, greener and more prosperous for all our communities.”
On the need for economic growth, the Mayor is expected to say, “It’s my firm belief that in order to help our communities through this terrible cost of living crisis – and get growth back into our economy – what we need is, more devolution, a race to the top – not the bottom and sustained investment, not swingeing cuts.
“That’s why as Mayor, I’m championing the London Living Wage, which has led to a quadrupling of living wage employers in London, and investing heavily in our skills and retraining schemes, in a Green New Deal for London and in our Anchor Institutions programme.
“All of these initiatives are about creating the high-wage, high-quality jobs Londoners deserve. And they are about promoting good growth, which benefits London’s communities, boosts local economies, businesses and supply chains, tackles longstanding inequalities and accelerates our shift to net zero.
“This is a serious, sustainable, inclusive growth plan, not Singapore on Thames or Austerity 2.0.
“It’s one that’s designed to help make sure our city works for everyone.”
On levelling up, the Mayor is expected to say, “You can’t level up the country by levelling down London.
“So my message to the new Prime Minister today is work with me and invest in London if you want to grow the national economy, level up other regions and raise living standards – not just in London, but right across the country.
“Because the UK only works when London works – and vice versa, and I’ll always be willing to put party politics aside in the best interests of our capital and country.”
On the need for greater devolution, the Mayor is expected to say, “We must get our economy firing on all cylinders. This means devolving more powers, funding and resources to London not only so we can ensure our city works for all our communities, but so we can help power the national recovery.
“We have the most centralised democracy in the Western world and unlocking the potential of London – and our other great towns, cities and regions – would aid our country’s fortunes, not hinder them.”