Incoming Prime Minister

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 28th June 2019.

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Photo of Joanne McCartney Joanne McCartney Labour

What representations will you make to the next Prime Minister in relation to standing up for London?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Thank you, Chair. I will answer the question from Assembly Member McCartney on the next PM, which is a nice segue from honesty, I suppose.

The first priority of the new PM must be to put an end to the chaos and confusion of Brexit. That means revoking Article 50 and giving the British public the final say on Brexit. This is the only way to protect jobs, growth and prosperity for the next generation.

Keeping Londoners safe is my top priority. The next PM must ensure that the police and fire services in London have the resources they need after years of unacceptable cuts.

London also needs support from the new PM on housing.  I am proud that City Hall started building a record number of affordable homes last year, but we still receive only a fraction of the housing investment we need from the Government.  I want to work with the new PM to agree new funding for our affordable housing programme.

On transport, I will be calling on the new Government to commit to spending plans set out by the National Infrastructure Commission, which makes a clear case for continued investment in London’s infrastructure.

I am also calling on the next PM to join me in declaring a climate emergency and to provide the resources needed to tackle it. In London, we have been leading the way on climate action. The new Government should put forward a Green Deal so that the UK achieves the target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050. Following the successful implementation of London’s ULEZ this year, the new Government must play its part in tackling toxic air pollution by introducing much-needed new clean air legislation and introducing a diesel scrappage scheme.

This week I was pleased to hold one of our regular meetings with other metro mayors from across the country. The incoming Government must urgently devolve more funding and powers to cities and regions so that we can deliver real change for the people we represent.

Photo of Joanne McCartney Joanne McCartney Labour

Thank you, Mr Mayor. It looks like the frontrunner to be our next PM is your predecessor, Boris Johnson.

You started today’s proceedings by talking about crime and the need for our next PM to properly fund our policing and early intervention services. Given that Mr Johnson under his last two years as Conservative Mayor of this city saw violence against the person rise by 47% under his tenure, do you think he properly understands the need for that adequate resourcing?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

The problem with the national Government - and I include, by the way, the Liberal Democrats, who were part of the national Government for five years - is that it does not realise that cuts have consequences. The Liberal Democrats may try to rewrite history in relation to their part in the Coalition Government from 2010 to 2015, but we have seen the consequences in relation to crime. Violent crime has gone up across the country from 2014 and has been going up.

Here in London we have seen progress as a consequence of my investment from City Hall, working with the under-resourced and overstretched police, with homicides going down, thankfully, which is not good enough and needs to go down further, with knife injuries to under-25s going down, which is not good enough and needs to go down quicker, and with England’s first Violence Reduction Unit.

The next PM needs to realise that we need a reversal of those cuts.  I am hoping that Boris Johnson, as the next PM, as it appears he will be, does a reverse on the massive cuts made by Theresa May [MP, PM] and by David Cameron [former PM] with Nick Clegg [former Deputy PM] and the Liberal Democrats.

Photo of Joanne McCartney Joanne McCartney Labour

I have great concerns. One of Mr Johnson’s main offers to his Conservative Party base appears to be tax cuts for the highest paid. If I take, for example, his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, over 7,000 children in his own constituency are in child poverty. It has a rate of over 30% after housing costs are taken into account. Do you think they are the right strategies?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Chair, when you hear some of the promises being made by these candidates running to be the next PM, you think, “What are these guys on?” With the revelations over the last two weeks, we can have a guess. Some of their policies are just nonsensical at a time when we have had massive cuts on public services for the last eight or nine years; to give tax cuts for people earning above £80,000 at a time when we know there is in-work poverty in our city.  We know that people do two or three jobs and cannot make ends meet. We know there is food poverty when children during the holidays when there are no free school meals are going to bed hungry without a decent meal during the day. We know that there are parents, particularly mums, who cannot go to work because of the unaffordability of childcare. We know that we need massive investment in infrastructure after years of neglect. The best idea that our next PM has is to give tax cuts to people earning over £80,000. Genuinely, what are they on?