Will Khan be able to turn his pledges to policy?
19 May 2016, Blog
Following a very convincing election victory, Sadiq Khan faces some uncertainty over whether he can actually implement some of his manifesto pledges.
One of the policies facing significant challenges is Khan’s housing pledge, which formed the centrepiece of his manifesto. Many developers claim Khan’s pledge for 50% of new housing construction in London to be affordable would render a significant amount of projects unfeasible. As Tony Travers (LSE Professor of London government) warns, many developers may simply “stand back and wait”. As such, Khan risks exacerbating the London housing crisis whilst failing to solve affordability issues.
There is also doubt surrounding the Labour mayor’s second most touted manifesto promise: the freezing of transport fairs for four years. In line with his call to make Labour a “big tent”, Khan seeks to fund the policy by introducing austerity to the “flabby” elements of TfL. However, this plan will take place as the government phases out the £700m per year subsidies for TfL, which could create significant financial strains on the policy.
Finally, the Mayor of London is dependent on central government for funding, and so Khan may need to foster better relations with George Osborne to adequately fund any of his policies. However, any wooing from Khan will likely be rather awkward following alleged racist tactics from the Conservative mayoral campaign, which Osborne brushed off as “rough and tumble”.
Whilst these challenges aren’t unsurmountable, Khan may need to significantly water down his manifesto promises in order to achieve the far-reaching reforms he has promised.