Susan Hall is the leader of the Conservative group in the London Assembly.
Londoners have spoken. They have given the mayor of London a second chance to finish controlling the growing crimes and the rising cost of living in the capital. But they have also returned to the London Assembly a larger and stronger Conservative team to keep Sadiq Khan’s feet on fire.
We will work with the mayor when he is right, we will fight him when he is wrong and we will scold him whenever he puts public relations stunts with a sign of virtue in front of the priorities of Londoners. But above all, we will keep his promises on behalf of the people of London.
With nine members of the London Conservative Assembly, we will represent everyone in our big city and fight for a safer and more affordable London. Our work will begin immediately: London faces immense challenges and Londoners need their mayor to deliver. This means that there is no honeymoon period for Khan and there is no time for his excuses.
As for the Assembly, the small Labor Group has already abdicated its responsibility to hold the mayor accountable in his second term. Instead of reaching a fair agreement in the committees of the Assembly, making sure that all the opinions of Londoners are represented, they have refused to chair one. But fear not: the Labor absence has paved the way for the Conservatives to chair six committees, which ensures the mayor is scrutinized rigorously every step of the way.
Khan has been presented for the second time with the best political work by Londoners. It is the most powerful directly elected position in the country, with a huge budget of £ 19.4 billion, and substantial police, housing and transport powers. He wasted his first term. You can’t miss the second one.
To begin with, the mayor must speed up the City Council’s job creation programs. It is outrageous that the mayor’s largest regeneration scheme, the £ 70m Good Growth Fund, has only delivered 1.8% of the 6,000 jobs he promised. If Khan is to help our city recover and fulfill its electoral promises of “jobs, jobs, jobs,” it must review these schemes to make sure they are delivered sooner rather than later.
The mayor must also reconsider his decision to reject our plan to create a £ 50m recovery fund through the Greater London Authority’s dormant business type reserve. This important fund could help companies recover, create jobs and revive the cultural and nightlife power of London. If the mayor cares about creating jobs, he would adopt our proposal: it would be fifty times the size of the existing fund back to the mayor’s company.
To regain the transport of London’s finances, Khan must be brave and use his second term to take on his union allies and modernize TfL. Londoners cannot afford to collect Khan’s bill through council tax hikes and extorted road charges. Outer London also can’t afford Khan’s ridiculous idea of border loading, which would hurt family and friends, troubled businesses and our utilities. Therefore, Khan must finally reform TfL’s rewards, benefits and pensions, which waste hundreds of millions of pounds every year. The savings would help squander TfL taxpayer bailouts and pay for transport upgrades, such as fixing the Hammersmith Bridge and cleaning up London’s bus fleet.
The mayor should also start treating house building as a sprint, not a marathon. The government has granted the City Council a third of England’s affordable housing budget. But Khan’s current plan will only start building 35,000 homes by 2026 with this new cash, reducing the construction of City Hall houses by two-thirds. Instead, it could use that money to build about 100,000 new homes, in line with London’s affordable housing program. Khan has to rethink his ridiculously unambitious plan.
Finally, and most importantly for Londoners, the mayor must control violent and neighborhood crimes. As the blockade is facilitated, these crimes will expire unless Khan acts now. In his second term, he must unequivocally support the police to make use of the arrest and search, put police officers before the press officers and make sure that the Met has the necessary resources to investigate the crimes, not just to record them.
We sincerely wish Khan all the best as mayor. We are in politics to make London a place to live even longer, and the mayor has the power to do so. We will do our job by holding you accountable. Now he has to do his job.
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