Sadiq Khan is ‘bringing London to its knees’ says LBC caller
The Labour Mayor of London also warned the Prime Minister his plans to “level up” the country could not happen at “the expense” of London and the South East. Mr Khan added that he wanted to see more statues of women, black and disabled people in London to reflect the multicultural nature of the UK.
Senior Labour figures are talking increasingly about a new tax on assets, or wealth tax, as a means to force the rich to pay more to fund public services.
Labour leader Sir Keir said in September he would back “a wealth tax, in the broadest sense of the word” on people’s “properties, dividends, stocks, shares” to fund social care.
However, Mr Khan warned about the “unintended consequences” of imposing such a tax on people who might be “equity rich, but cash poor”.
He added: ‘I’m quite cognisant of the fact that it’s not me that creates the wealth and prosperity in our city, it is the small businesses, those who are innovators, those who are chief executives of big companies.”
Sadiq Khan has slammed Sir Keir’s tax proposals
The Mayor says Michael Gove understands London better
Worried that many would leave London for other UK cities or abroad, the Mayor said: “I’m not competing against Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow. I am competing against Paris, Singapore, New York, Hong Kong. What I don’t want is a flight out of London to those global competitors.”
Since Brexit, multiple multi-national corporations have left London for Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin, with only a handful staying or coming the other way.
Making sure the message reached the treasury, Mr Khan said: “That’s why it’s so important for our Chancellor at the moment, Rishi Sunak, to bat for our city. He needs to understand that we need equivalence to make sure we don’t have flight to Dublin, Paris, Madrid, elsewhere in Europe, Frankfurt.”
Couple have to pay £12.50 every time they turn left out of their house
London is struggling with Tube strikes
Calls have been made for Mr Khan to quit over tube strikes
Pointing out that London contributed a net £40 billion to the UK economy, he said: “The point I made to the Prime Minister was the way to make our country more equal is not to make London poorer. Levelling up should not mean dragging down London.”
The Mayor added: “Michael Gove, who represents Surrey, understands the contribution made by London and the South East. He understands that his constituents come into London on a daily basis, work their socks off to contribute to the national economy through London.”
A North–South war of words hit the headlines when the Prime Minister announced changes to the proposed HS2 line connecting Birmingham and Leeds.
The premier last week faced accusations that he has “betrayed” the North by axing flagship plans to improve the rail link.
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London thrives on small businesses
London has rail problems of its own.
In light of recent industrial action by the London Underground through its union the RMT, Mr Khan acknowledges that funding for public transport is key.
The Mayor is currently in talks with the Government about a £1.7 billion financial package for Transport for London (TfL) over the next two years.
With the Covid-19 pandemic already having played a part in hurting the London economy, Mr Khan is also seeking to pass new laws to make masks mandatory on public transport.
British Transport Police lost powers to fine people for not wearing masks last July, when most lock down restrictions were lifted in England
The Mayor said: “We’re trying to persuade Grant Shapps to allow us to pass a bylaw, which would mean we can bring it in… like there is a bylaw that you can’t drink on the Underground. We think it’s important.”
Fears have been shared that big companies will leave London
In September, the Mayor of London, when asked, refused three times to say whether he support Sir Keir Starmer’s proposed change to Labour’s leadership rule.
During a Radio 4 interview, he said: “I’ve got to be frank – as the mayor of London, internal Labour party rules isn’t at the fore of my mind.”
He added: “It’s not at the fore of my mind. What is at the fore of my mind is tackling the twin challenges of air pollution and climate change and to make the progress met across our city and country.”