Below is the speech delivered by Sadiq Khan at the state of London debate.
Thank you, James. It’s fantastic to be able to hold this event in person once again, and to welcome people here from every corner of our city. It’s also great to have so many Londoners joining us virtually and to be able to reach a much wider audience through LBC. The state of London debate is an important part of our local democracy in London. And an opportunity for you to put your questions directly to me and my deputy mayors about the issues that matter most to you, your families and your communities.
It was little over a year ago that I was truly humbled by the trust Londoners placed in me to serve a second term as mayor. I’m just as determined as ever to repay that trust by continuing to work tirelessly to stand up for London and to deliver for our city. I’ll never forget that London gave me the opportunities to go from the council estate where I grew up to being the mayor of the greatest city on earth.
And I still wake up every morning passionate about delivering the promise I made to Londoners. To make this a city where everyone – irrespective of race, gender, religion, background, sexual orientation, disability or class – can get the same shot at reaching their potential that London gave me and my family. This is the common thread that continues to run through everything I do as mayor.
Now, there’s no getting around the fact that the past few years have been incredibly tough for our city and our communities. The Grenfell Tower tragedy. A series of terrorist attacks. The impact of Brexit. The pandemic. And now the cost-of-living crisis, which is hitting many Londoners hard. Yet – even under these extremely difficult circumstances – I’m proud that we’re showing in London the difference that can be made when you have: the right values; the passion to get things done; and the ambition to improve lives.
We’re laying the foundations to fix London’s housing crisis – building more new homes for Londoners than at any time since the 1930s. London has become a global leader when it comes to tackling the climate emergency and air pollution – with toxic air already cut by half in central London.
We’ve quadrupled the number of employers paying the London living wage. We’ve delivered the Elizabeth line and introduced the unlimited Hopper bus fare, making transport more affordable for millions of Londoners. We’re helping to get London back on its feet after the pandemic by supporting businesses and bringing investment and tourism back to our city.
We’ve doubled funding and support to tackle homelessness, with rough sleeping now falling. We’re building more council homes for Londoners than at any time since the 1970s. We’re offering free skills training to anyone who’s unemployed or in low-paid work. We’re providing a mentor to all young Londoners in need of support. And knife crime, gun crime and burglary are all falling due to our approach of being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.
Of course, we still have a long way to go – particularly on tackling violent crime, on reforming the police and on fixing the housing crisis. We certainly still have our work cut out for us. But we’re moving forward together as a city. And, despite these difficult times, my optimism and ambition for what we can achieve has not been diminished.
So, rather than allowing our city to be weakened by inequality and division, I believe now is the time to push ahead. To build the thousands of new homes more Londoners can afford. To continue the fight against crime and the causes of crime. To tackle violence against women and girls. To restore trust and confidence in the police. To help people through the cost-of-living crisis. To continue leading the way on green issues. And to build a better London for everyone – a city that is safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous for all. I look forward to answering your questions.