Sadiq Khan has shown his “pro-business” credentials far more that his Tory rival. Labour Business (LFIG) supports Sadiq and offers a number of business policy proposals in support of his campaign for a fairer and more prosperous London economy. Sadiq has welcomed our proposals and promised to study them carefully.
Devised by business experts, the Labour Business Policies for London report sets out detailed policies for London ranging from a shared ownership housing scheme for employers and employees to an innovation challenge fund for London’s outer boroughs. The report also calls for a network of London apprenticeship agencies, and argues for the expansion of Gatwick Airport as part of a coherent airport strategy.
Introducing the report, Labour Business/LFIG Chairman Hamish Sandison said: “We endorse Sadiq Khan’s candidacy and his unashamedly pro-business campaign. We believe that he is better placed than any other candidate to build on London’s position as the world’s foremost city for business. These are our policy proposals, not his; but we urge him to take them on board. They are designed not only to make London a more prosperous city by promoting enterprise and wealth creation but also to make London a fairer city for those who live and work in it.”
Welcoming the report, Sadiq Khan said: “If I’m elected, I will be the most pro-business Mayor yet. Having helped to run a business, I understand the challenges that business people and entrepreneurs face. And I know that without successful businesses – small, medium, large and freelance – we cannot make London the fairer and more prosperous city that we all want it to be. That’s why I welcome the support of the experts at Labour Business and their policy proposals, which I will study carefully.”
Hamish Sandison added: “We would be the first to admit that Labour’s pro-business credentials took a serious hit in the 2015 General Election. Labour was perceived as an ‘anti-business’ party, which is one of the reasons why we lost. Whether that perception is fair or not is another matter. But as we know, perception is all in modern politics. To win again, we must bust the myth that Labour is an anti-business party and we must re-establish Labour’s economic credibility. That is the key objective of Labour Business over the coming months and years.
“That’s why we leapt at Sadiq Khan’s invitation to prepare this report. Its purpose is to flesh out a more detailed set of business-friendly proposals showing what it might mean, in practice, to be a ‘pro-business’ Labour Mayor of London. These are our views, not necessarily Sadiq Khan’s views, but we offer them in the hope that he will find them worthy of inclusion in his manifesto”.
We are hugely enthusiastic about Sadiq Khan’s campaign, and we are convinced that he is better placed than any other candidate to build on London’s position as the world’s foremost city for business. True to Labour’s values, this means not only making London a more welcoming city for enterprise, but also making it a fairer city for those who live and work in it.
What’s in the report?
The report comprises six key proposals. These are based on the ideas of organisations with strong knowledge of the issues facing London, and reflect published academic research into the evidence base on what policies work, and which ones do not. The six proposals are clearly not an exhaustive list, but taken together they address many of the main challenges facing London, in ways that demonstrate the continuity between Labour thinking and that of the business community.
The six proposals are:
- Create a network of London Apprenticeship Agencies – providing a service to small businesses, taking on the bureaucracy of apprenticeships, mentoring the businesses, and arranging new placements for apprentices if their original employers become unable to justify keeping them.
- Develop a shared-ownership housing scheme for employers and employees – a pan-London private sector fund to help employers enter into shared housing ownership arrangements with their employees.
- Create a Challenge Fund for outer London local economies – inviting outer London boroughs with innovative projects for helping their local economies adapt to demographic change to bid for resources from the fund, helping develop those ideas from their own resources or from central government.
- Lead on the development of London’s Opportunity Areas – putting a plan to the GLA for the delivery of growth and regeneration of all Opportunity Areas, reporting regularly on progress, and being held accountable, with an emphasis on working with local authorities to provide them with assistance and strategic back-up as needed, but also being willing to use powers to break barriers and accelerate progress.
- Take the lead on the question of infrastructure spending – seeking to achieve cross-party agreement, within London and also within Westminster, about how much London should contribute to the national exchequer and how much it should receive for infrastructure spending based on an equivalent for London of the Barnett formula for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but on a fairer basis.
- Champion the expansion of Gatwick Airport as part of a coherent airport strategy – working in partnership with Gatwick’s owners to raise the ambition of their scheme, and take it to a new level within the context of a longer-term airport strategy covering Stansted, City Airport and of course Heathrow.