Great expectations: the race for City Hall kicks off
20 July 2018
With twenty-two months left until the next London Mayoral election, the Conservative party has already shortlisted three candidates for selection: Ealing Councillor Joy Morrissey, and London Assembly members Shaun Bailey and Andrew Boff. The decision will lie with party members in the capital in the run-up to autumn party conference, but these candidates will need to demonstrate that they grasp the key issues topping Londoners’ concerns for a real shot at success.
Our own survey with Grosvenor just ahead of the local council elections last May pointed to housing as a key electoral battleground, with over four in ten Londoners saying it would influence who they voted for. There’s a clear appetite for politicians to get behind delivering the homes that London desperately needs, and candidates will need to show they understand this isn’t just about getting onto the property ladder, especially for young professionals. Our polling found that the top challenges the housing crisis is posing for the under-25s include being unable to find a suitable rental property (47%), struggling to pay rent (34%) and having to live in over-crowded conditions (28%). Londoners will want to hear clear proposals for more affordability across tenures.
Getting from A to B without battling over-crowded platforms and being packed together like sardines is another daily grapple for Londoners. But it’s equally a concern for business. High quality connectivity and infrastructure is vital to our success and attractiveness as a global capital. Crossrail 2 would increase our rail capacity by 10%, and has the backing of business leaders and policy makers from across the capital, so it will be important for candidates to show their support for this project.
Equally important to London’s success and attractiveness is its people. The rich diversity of Londoners is what truly makes this city a great place to live. Keeping our doors open to workers and students from all over the world will be vital to our continued competitiveness post-Brexit, and Londoners and businesses will get behind a candidate that recognises this. The #LondonIsOpen campaign has sent a clear message that Sadiq Khan understands this, while a divisive campaign derailed Zac Goldsmith’s chances.
Lastly, London business will want assurances of candidates’ plans for our capital’s growth beyond Brexit. At a time when central government capacity is focused on negotiations, the case for city-regions to drive economic growth keeps getting stronger, just as our Growing Together report highlighted. So a clear vision for building on London’s success will be key to the success of any candidate.
Become a member
Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.