London Mayoral Elections - Our manifesto for business

  • By Josh Hall
  • 1 May 2012
London Mayoral Elections - Our manifesto for business

Elections for London Mayor are less than a week away, and the outcome will have serious implications for businesses in the capital and beyond.

Many have complained that the elections have become little more than a personal popularity contest - a fight between two larger than life political figures.

London deserves better. We need clear leadership and bright ideas at such a pivotal point for the capital and the country.

In an effort to refocus the debate on policies rather than personalities, we have trawled through the five main candidates’ manifestos and plucked out the best bits of each. We have compiled them into our own manifesto for London business, highlighting some of the major differences and the many similarities between Johnson, Livingstone, Paddick, Jones, and Benita.

You will notice that we haven’t set out how we intend to pay for these plans – but, in general, neither have the candidates. There will of course be significant financial constraints facing the next Mayor – but as they apparently haven’t allowed these to affect their thinking, neither have we.

We want to know your thoughts. What do you want to see the candidates talking about? How will you be voting on 3 May? Let us know in the comments.

Growth and infrastructure

An effective programme of support for businesses must be at the heart of any successful mayor’s plans. All five candidates seem to recognise this, and each has devoted a significant portion of their respective manifesto to growth and infrastructure projects.

From the five candidates’ manifestos, we would like to see:

  • The provision of low-cost credit to London businesses, as promised by both Johnson and Paddick.
  • Better access for SMEs to Greater London Authority (GLA) procurement through CompeteFor, as promised by Johnson, Livingstone, Paddick, and Jones.
  • A prompt payment guarantee for SMEs fulfilling GLA contracts, as promised by Livingstone.
  • Improvements to Business Link, as promised by Paddick.
  • Further development of Tech City and lobbying for 4G across London, as promised by Livingstone.
  • Business rate relief for small retailers on ‘at-risk’ High Streets, as promised by Paddick.
  • Lobbying for local authorities to get stronger powers to protect independent retailers, as promised by Jones.
  • Support for fairer ‘ties’ between pub tenants and pubcos, as promised by Livingstone.
  • An expansion of London apprenticeship schemes, as promised by all five candidates. Of the three, Livingstone’s pledge to ensure there is an apprenticeship for every 16 to 18 year old who wants to take one seems the strongest.
  • Lobbying for the general adoption of the London Living Wage, a pledge made by all three candidates.
  • The “targeting” of derelict buildings for rapid redevelopment, as pledged by Siobhan Benita.

Transport

Transport remains a key issue for all Londoners. Apart from being a necessity for residents, a properly functioning transport network is a vital prerequisite for sustainable economic growth.

From the five candidates’ manifestos, we would like to see:

  • Inflation-only fare rises from 2014, as promised by Livingstone.
  • Lobbying to minimise the negative impacts of HS2, as promised by all three candidates.
  • The pedestrianisation of spaces in central London, and a New York-style ‘summer streets’ scheme, as pledged by Paddick.
  • Extension of tube running hours, as promised by Benita.

 

Housing

There is significant convergence between the five main candidates on housing. Three profess a wish to regulate the private rented sector more effectively, and there are further similarities in the methods by which they would do this.

From the five candidates’ manifestos, we would like to see:

  • The establishment of Livingstone’s London Lettings Agency, providing cheap agency services for reputable landlords.
  • Compulsory landlord registration, to ensure tenants know they are getting a fair deal.
  • General lobbying for better rental regulation – a pledge made by Johnson, Livingstone, Paddick, and Jones.
  • A major home-building push and the return of empty properties to the rental market, as pledged by Paddick.

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