Sadik Khan will today launch his re-election campaign for City Hall telling voters that his top priority will be “jobs, jobs, jobs” with a call for a 1945-style programme to rebuild the economy of London.
In a speech later today, the mayor will describe the May election as a “two-horse race” between Labour and the Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey who will not stand up to “the most anti-London government in living memory”, Khan argues.
Announcing details of his economic plan for the city, Khan will promise £5m of investment dedicated to attracting Londoners and domestic tourists back into the West End and to maximise City Hall spending to help create and retain jobs.
The mayor is also expected to commit to transforming small business support in the capital, pledging to bring forward plans to make it simpler for business owners and “aspiring entrepreneurs” to access advice and support.
“We owe it to everyone who has lost their lives, to the key workers who have done so much to keep us safe, and to all those who have suffered to ensure we build an even better London after the pandemic,” he will say in the live-streamed address.
The London mayor is set to criticise the Budget unveiled by Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, arguing that the economic statement from the Chancellor showed that “the Tories don’t have the ambition or the vision needed to do that”.
“In 1945, a Labour government rebuilt Britain from the ashes of war. Like so many, I benefited from their work decades later as I grew up on a council estate and was given the opportunities to fulfil my potential and become mayor,” Khan will say.
“That’s why jobs, jobs, jobs are a top priority for my second term. I want the government to back this ambition with a jobs guarantee, creating opportunities for Londoners, particularly in the key industries of the future.
“I am hopeful that with the right support from the government, working with London’s businesses, we can help get the 300,000 Londoners who have lost their jobs during the pandemic back into work quickly.
“I’ll also continue my relentless focus on cleaning up our city’s air, building record numbers of new council homes and being both tough on crime and its causes,” the mayor will tell those watching today.
“I promise to continue standing up for London’s values, relentlessly bang the drum for London – both at home and abroad – to attract jobs and investment, and fight for the national investment we need in the face of the most anti-London government in living memory. The Tory candidate doesn’t share our values and he won’t stand up for our city.”
Polling earlier this year showed Labour out in front in the mayoral race with a 21-point lead over the Conservative candidate. The research predicted Khan taking 49% of first preference votes with Bailey coming second on 28%.
This would represent a historic result. The biggest first preference vote gap between the first and second placed contenders in the five London mayoral elections so far is the 11.9% achieved by Ken Livingstone in 2000 when he beat Steve Norris.
Bailey has come under pressure over the past year following allegations of fraud to influence the upcoming vote. Angela Rayner recently demanded the Conservatives apologise over distribution of “fake leaflets” imitating City Hall correspondence.
The Conservative mayoral candidate was accused of creating a website “full of lies” by transport trade union TSSA last November. The site was unbranded and called ‘Transport for London Bailout Facts’.
The Tory hopeful also sparked controversy and was described as “completely out of touch” in January this year when he suggested that homeless people in the capital could save £5,000 for a deposit to buy a house.