Can I congratulate you on your election? It was good to campaign with your family on election day as well. I am sure they are really proud of your achievement.
More than 300,000 Londoners have lost their jobs during the pandemic and, as Mayor, I will do everything I can to help the whole city recover. I am helping to protect existing jobs, support businesses to create new ones and help Londoners who have lost their jobs get back to work.
We have already introduced changes to the dedicated Adult Education Budget (AEB), which allows 20,000 Londoners earning below the London Living Wage to access training that they otherwise would have had to pay for. We will be launching a £32 million Good Work for All Fund to deliver training, education and employability support to help Londoners enter good jobs in London’s key sectors. I will continue to tailor London’s annual £330 million AEB to support Londoners hardest hit by the pandemic into good work. To help achieve this, we will establish skills academies that connect Londoners to vital jobs in key sectors, including the green economy, culture and creative, health, hospitality and digital. Our new Let’s Do London campaign will also play a critical role in protecting jobs and supporting the culture and hospitality sectors. This year, further investment from the AEB will go towards supporting London’s skills needs as the economy reopens.
We are working closely with London government partners, national agencies and academic institutions across London to promote good work and to improve partnership working so that Londoners can better access jobs and training opportunities. I will also work with others to protect and create jobs wherever I can. This includes influencing the business environment through business support, resilience grants and digital transition initiatives, as well as cultivating supply chain opportunities in planning, construction and urban development. Our £50 million Green New Deal will help to create thousands of new green jobs, and a new package of infrastructure works worth up to £1.5 billion recently announced by my London Infrastructure Group will help to kickstart the economy.
Thank you, Mr Mayor. May I also offer my congratulations on your election to your second term? It was great to see you on election day.
London is the region with the most staff on furlough. Furlough covers up to 80% of an employee’s salary for the hours that they cannot work. As you know, the furlough scheme is going to start to end in June , effectively next week. What can the Government do to support Londoners at risk of unemployment as their furlough scheme comes to an end?
Thank you for your question. There are a couple of things that worry me in particular in relation to the Government support. Firstly, it is good. We persuaded the Government to extend the support in relation to business rates, value-added tax (VAT) relief and the furlough scheme. My concern is that when you look at the numbers of people furloughed, they tend to be disproportionately in poorer boroughs and deprived communities across London. If there is no support when furlough ends, if it is a cliff-edge fall, those furloughed Londoners may become redundant and unemployed.
A number of things need to happen. Firstly, in those sectors where there will not be a quick recovery - retail, culture and hospitality - the furlough scheme should be extended for a bit longer so there is not a cliff-edge fall. Secondly, the Government should be providing a national jobs guarantee so that those who lose their jobs can get back into work as soon as possible. Thirdly, we need to make sure that we protect the jobs we have. That is why we have Let’s Do London. So far we have no support from the Government. We have £7 million; £6 million from us and £1 million from businesses. If we had support from the Government, we could really ensure we can protect those jobs to avoid the unemployment that you are worried about.
Thank you. When creating jobs, it is important to create good jobs with good working conditions and people being paid at least the London Living Wage. Your manifesto commitment was to support workers’ rights, which are particularly important now, as we do not have the protections of the European Union (EU) and [we have] a Government that is sometimes described as hostile to workers’ rights. How will you work to protect workers’ rights this term?
Firstly, I am of the view that it is not me who creates the jobs. I try to create an environment where jobs are created by the private sector and others. We have to work with the private sector to have an environment that is conducive not only to job creation, but to good job creation.
The announcement over the last 24 hours of Uber recognising the GMB trade union is a good example of employers and workers working together. I genuinely believe that when employers work with their employees through a trade union, it leads to greater productivity as well as better standards of work. We cannot have situation where London is good for business but not good for workers. It is possible to have London be good for workers and business.
What I hope to do over the next three years is to build on the progress of the first five years: the Good Work Standard; massively increasing the number of employers paying the London Living Wage; massively improving the conditions of the workplace through the good works of trade unions; and also banging the drum for investment in relation to London across Europe and around the world, whether it is jobs, investment or tourism.