Challenges faced in London

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 11th May 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Len Duvall Len Duvall Labour

What have been your biggest challenges as Mayor since 2016?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Thank you, Chair. When I was first elected Mayor in 2016, no one could have predicted the challenges we would be confronted with over the following five years. We have had the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, a tragedy we are still contending with as we continue to fight for justice. We have had a series of cowardly terrorist attacks that shook our city, and Brexit, a bad deal that has left our financial services and many other industries in disarray. We have constant Government austerity, which has left our police force, our affordable housing programme, our transport system and our community groups severely underfunded. Now we have this awful pandemic, which has cost so many lives and livelihoods.

I have always tried to support our communities through dark times, working with them, listening to them, giving them a voice and, above all, standing up for them and their values. What has constantly given me hope during these difficult times is the extraordinary way Londoners have fought together. There were the brave emergency service workers who ran to confront danger during terrorist attacks while guiding others to safety, and the Londoners who opened their hearts and their homes to residents of Grenfell. There are the small acts of kindness that millions of Londoners have shown to neighbours, friends and strangers during the pandemic, and the heroic NHS staff and key workers, who have saved countless lives and kept the city going in our hour of greatest need.

After the darkness of 2020, let us find some light at the end of the tunnel and the incredible London spirit we have seen this past year fuels my optimism about the future we can build together. With the right choices, we can ensure London is an even better city after the pandemic than it was before, a city that is fairer, greener and safer and that works for all Londoners.

Photo of Len Duvall Len Duvall Labour

Thank you, Mr Mayor. Let us think further forward then. If you are re-elected, what is the key priority? You have outlined the general direction of travel, but are you saying your economic recovery strategy is the number one item because it encompasses all those issues that you have said?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Chair, without any of us counting chicks, the role of the next Assembly and the Mayor is going to be making sure we make a rapid recovery from this awful pandemic. My mantra is going to be “Jobs, jobs, jobs”, trying to keep those people in work, who are currently working, trying to make sure we help them retrain and others retrain and also helping those who, having been made unemployed, get back into work. I am hoping the Government by September [2021] when the furlough scheme ends produces a national jobs guarantee. What we cannot afford to have in London in the 2020s is what we saw in the 1980s, which is millions of Londoners being unemployed and potentially a generation being lost. City Hall is going to be using its convening power to make sure we do what we can to focus and rebuild in our city and have the confidence and vision that our forefathers and foremothers had post-1945.

Photo of Len Duvall Len Duvall Labour

Thank you, Mr Mayor.

Photo of Navin Shah Navin Shah Labour

Thank you, Mr Mayor. That brings us to a close of the Q&A that we had this morning. Thank you, Mr Mayor, for answering the questions, and I wish you and all other candidates the very best for the forthcoming [mayoral and London Assembly] elections.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.