Professor Tony Travers examines the Mayoral manifestos

7 April 2016, Blog

On Monday night the thinktank London First hosted LSE Professor Tony Travers (author of a multitude of books on London, including the recent London’s Boroughs at 50) at the Bloomberg headquarters to examine the Mayoral Manifestos and London’s key policy challenges.

He discussed issues London faces across transport, infrastructure, housing, the tech industry and immigration. The Professor’s broad conclusion was that the two front runners’ policies did not differ substantially and were frankly pretty light on detail.

In particular, he questioned Mr Goldsmith and Mr Khan’s commitments to dramatically increase the number of houses being built in the nation’s Capital. On Sadiq Khan’s plans to mandate a 50% ‘affordable’ target on all new developments, Prof Travers said “Ken [Livingston] tried a 50% target over two terms, and never hit it.” The Professor also highlighted that housing developers were going to be pretty unlikely to play along with Mr Khan’s plans.

As for the Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, Prof Travers cast a very wry eye over his promises to use unused Transport for London (TFL) land for housing developments. He pointed out that TfL would be looking to use that land to help meet London’s ambitious infrastructure targets, and therefore won’t be so keen to sell it on the cheap to housing developers.

On transport, the Professor pointed out that both main candidates don’t want to see airport expansion, want to reduce the number of cars on London’s roads (and encourage those that remain to be electric for gas powered), and want the expansion of London’s Overground and Underground services (they just disagree on how to pay for it).

So the question remains will the candidates start fleshing out their offerings in these final few weeks.

James Hargrave, Senior Account Director 

JBP Staff Member

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