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Sadiq Khan: the first six months

The new Mayor has now had his feet under the table for six months. In that time, London First has been working productively with him, the new Deputy Mayors, and the wider team at the Greater London Authority to make London the best city in the world in which to do business.

Before the end of the year we will welcome Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Skills and Regeneration to our Annual Chairman’s Reception on 6 December. We will also hear from James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing, at a Homes for Londoners event on 14 December. An event with the Mayor himself will follow in the new year.

The key test of the Mayor to 2020 will be how he focuses on the areas which are crucial to London’s economic competitiveness. Here, we lay out our initial thoughts on his progress so far.

Step change in delivering more homes

London First’s housing policy work and the Fifty Thousand Homes campaign are focused on ensuring that London delivers the step change in housing supply it needs to remain competitive.

Over the past six months, the Mayor has:

  • Initiated an audit of City Hall’s preparedness to tackle the housing crisis; an acute construction skills crisis; and a flawed process of identifying public land for homes.
  • Has pledged to build new homes on land owned by City Hall, including Transport for London sites, and has said he hopes to work with Government ministers to ensure a more active role in identifying surplus public land for housing such as that owned by TfL. This was recommended this in London First’s 2015 report From Wasted Space to Living Place.
  • Appointed James Murray as Deputy Mayor for Housing and released the first details of his plan for Homes for Londoners, a new team at City Hall, to oversee housebuilding in the capital and boost the delivery of new and affordable homes. Mr Murray spoke at our Fifty Thousand Homes event in July and will also be speaking at our London Property Summit in November.

Rising to the transport challenge  

Transport investment is key in unlocking growth across the capital and ensuring that global capital, expertise and talent continue to commit to London and the UK.

The Mayor has:

  • Appointed Val Shawcross as Deputy Mayor for Transport and Deputy Chair of Transport for London. London First members met with Val at a reception in September.
  • Launched the Night Tube on the Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines, with the Northern and Piccadilly soon to follow.
  • Approved London City Airport expansion plans, which London First welcomed, having called for a decision on this vital investment for years.
  • Appointed Lord Andrew Adonis as Chair of the Crossrail 2 Board who was involved in our reporting looking at how Crossrail 2 could be funded. Hear him speaking at the 2016 Infrastructure Summit here.
  • Set out a package of new river crossings that he would like to see built over the next 5-10 years to improve transport links in east London, which London First welcomed.
  • Presented TfL with the business case for devolving suburban rail services such as Southern Rail. The plans will also open up opportunities for new homes and jobs in outer London.

Investing in ‘brand’ London           

After the vote to leave the European Union in June, demonstrating that London is open to international businesses and tourists alike is crucial.

The Mayor has:

  • Launched the #LondonIsOpen campaign after the EU referendum to show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international and full of creativity, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome.
  • Boosted London’s 24 hour economy by setting up the Night Time Commission, which London First sits on, and launching the Night Tube. In August, London First and EY launched a report which found that the value of London’s 24 hour economy could reach almost £30 billion annually by 2030. Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, joined our dinner with EY which discussed how to make London 24-hour ready with the launch of the Night Tube.
  • Announced a new Night Czar, Amy Lamé, who will develop a vision and strategy for London’s evening and night time economy. London First working with the Night Time Commission to help shape the job specification and remit of the role.

Supporting growth and nurturing talent

It is critical that London has a skills system that responds to the needs of both employers and employees, as well as the devolved powers to support business and economic growth.

The Mayor has:

  • Given his support to our Skills London event in December – London’s biggest jobs and careers event for young people.
  • Commissioned Professor Tony Travers from the London School of Economics to reconvene the London Finance Commission: a group of political and business leaders which outlined an initial set of devolution measures for the capital in 2013. London First is taking an active role in this group.
  • Appointed Rajesh Agrawal as Deputy Mayor for Business. Immediately after the EU referendum, Rajesh joined our Board and chief executives from across London First membership to hear how London business was reacting to the vote and their views on devolution. Over the summer, Rajesh was a guest at a lunch the Global Cities Business Alliance held in Chicago which coincided with the Mayor’s visit. Later in the year, The Deputy Mayor addressed our events at Labour Party Conference and listened with interest to our members’ thoughts on the future of London.

Contact: Gina Byrne, gbyrne@londonfirst.co.uk

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