Mayor calls for almost £30 billion from Government


Sadiq Khan has called for almost £30 billion from Government, as he warned against “starving” the London economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Mayor submitted his plans to the Government’s comprehensive spending review.

This major overhaul of national budgets was last carried out in 2015 – it examines every department’s projects from the ground up.

Mr Khan wants a coronavirus recovery deal tailored to the capital: a one-off grant spread over several years, which would pay for regeneration.

He has also wants a national cash pot for the creative industries – theatre, art, music and other businesses – with at least £100 million for London.

Transport for London (TfL) will need £5.65 billion over the next 18 months to keep services running – and its funding model must change, and become less reliant on passenger fares, he said.

And the Mayor wants a massive boost to affordable housing spend in the capital: he has asked for more than £20 billion extra over the next five years for this alone

Mr Khan also called for “substantial” funding of the Met, to maintain police numbers – he fears the force budget will be hammered as council tax and business rates income drops during the pandemic.

And the Mayor requested a £1.5 billion for cities to tackle toxic air pollution – of which around £50 million minimum should come to London.

He has also called for an extra £1 billion to speed up the electrification of buses in the capital.

These projects would mean £28.65 billion extra cash in total – without accounting for the one off regeneration bailout, which Mr Khan has not put a figure on.

London has been hit hard by coronavirus, with TfL ticket sales down 90% at the peak of the virus, and a gap of almost £500 million in Greater London Authority budgets over this year and next.

Businesses are struggling to bounce back from lockdown, with footfall in the West End – the shopping centre of the city – less than a third of pre-pandemic levels, at a cost of £5 billion.

But the Mayor warned that despite these setbacks, London is being excluded from nationwide investment.

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Last month, ministers announced £900 million for infrastructure projects across the country that can start now – but the capital got just £22 million from the scheme, less than 3%.

City Hall says the city needs more, and its recovery will be crucial for the entire country: London’s economy is a quarter of the Britain’s total output, bigger than Scotland and Wales combined.

Mr Khan warned that “starving the capital of investment” will only “hamper” the UK recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“London’s success has a direct economic benefit creating jobs all across the UK, while contributing a net £38.7 billion to the Treasury,” he said.

“Instead of knocking London, the Government should be investing in the city so that it continues to fire on all cylinders.

“The fact is the country needs a successful London. Put simply, there can be no national recovery without a London recovery.”

But London Assembly Conservative leader Susan Hall said the Mayor’s accusations “couldn’t be further from the truth”.

“The Government has consistently invested in London and has bailed Sadiq Khan out when Crossrail was repeatedly delayed on his watch and Transport for London went bust,” she said.

Despite a £4.82 billion investment from ministers, the Mayor has failed to build even half of the 116,000 affordable homes he promised by 2022 she said.

“The problem with Sadiq Khan is whenever the Government gives him money he fails to deliver,” Ms Hall said.

“Londoners expect their Mayor to get a good deal from Government, but Khan’s consistent failure to deliver weakens our city’s case.

“Without a Mayor that can deliver and work with the Government, Khan is depriving our city of future investment.”

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