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Mayoral debate: Why should I be Mayor of London Tomorrow?

Monday 25 January 2016

Mayoral debate: Why should I be Mayor of London Tomorrow?

  • First main business hustings at LSE
  • Five set candidates to hold debate
  • Focus on London as future megacity

As London counts down towards the Mayoral Election on 5 May 2016 the main candidates will tonight debate what they would do to maintain London's status as a leading world city.

The capital is moving toward megacity status with a forecasted population of 10 million by 2030 - presenting a range of challenges for the new Mayor of London to address. Five main candidates will tell an audience of over 400 people at LSE why they should run City Hall:

  • Sian Berry Green Party
  • Zac Goldsmith Conservative
  • Sadiq Khan Labour
  • Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrats
  • Peter Whittle UKIP

The candidates' debate is the fourth event from the London Tomorrow: Shaping Future Cities thought leadership initiative organised by London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in association with EY and supported by London City Airport.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: "London Tomorrow has sought to bring together the thoughts and wisdom of different sectors that don't necessarily come together that often. We need a new Mayor who has what it takes to make a bigger, bolder and better London. That means looking at what we need in terms of investment in transport and housing and in wider infrastructure across the city. We need more independence - political and financial - for London".

Caroline Artis, EY's Senior London Partner, said: "We are at a really important point in London's development and with a new Mayor coming we wanted to get together leading thinkers, businessmen, local and central government politicians and really think about the issues that are going to be important over the next few years."

Patrick Burrows, Chief Financial Officer, London City Airport, said: "The next Mayor is going to have to prepare London for the future and that means making tough choices and not ducking difficult decisions."

Previous discussions at the three other London Tomorrow debates focused on enhanced devolution for London; funding future infrastructure and London as an entrepreneurial city.

UK polling agency ComRes surveyed London public, business and civic leaders for their opinion ahead of each London Tomorrow debate. See appendix below for highlights.


Media contact
​Katharine McGee
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: kmcgee@londonchamber.co.uk


  1. 'London Tomorrow: Shaping Future Cities' is a thought-leadership initiative facilitated by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with Ernst & Young (EY). London City Airport are a supporting partner.
  2. Colin Stanbridge of LCCI is available for further comment and interview.
  3. Caroline Artis of EY is available for further comment and interview
  4. Follow the debate on Twitter #LondonTomorrow
  5. ComRes Polling highlights are highlighted in the appendix below.

APPENDIX: ComRes Polling highlights;

What level of devolution for London? (March 2015)

Support for more devolution to London

60% of London adults, 56% of London businesses and 89% of London councillors support further devolution of tax and spending powers to London

What level of London government should control devolved revenues?

  • 58% of councillors believe London Boroughs should be responsible for collecting and spending devolved tax revenues in London, while 43% of business leaders supported regional government, i.e. City Hall, control
  • 31% of Londoners favour City Hall control compared to 29% preferring power to lay with the boroughs
  • Revenues that should be collected and spent in London
  • Business rates (55% public; 72% businesses; 90% councillors) and stamp duty (40% public; 47% businesses; 60% councillors) receive most support for devolved collection and spend of revenue in London

Priority spending areas to promote London growth

  • Transport infrastructure and housing emerged are the priority areas of investment for any additional devolved funding to the capital
  • 67% of London businesses believe devolved tax revenues should be spent on transport infrastructure
  • 69% of councillors favour house building as the main spending priority
  • For Londoners, jobs and skills provision is key investment (51%), followed by house building (50%)

Future infrastructure: who pays and how to deliver? (June 2015)

Infrastructure priorities for London

  • 46% of London adults, 25% of businesses, and 55% of councillors rank building more new affordable homes as the most important project to stimulate and sustain economic growth in London
  • Businesses also rank upgrades to rail and tube services (22%) and improving coverage of superfast broadband and mobile reception services (22%) as key priorities

London as a major global city

  • London as a major global city is thought by all three audiences to underperform in all the areas tested (transport infrastructure, digital connectivity, airport capacity, utilities infrastructure, number of schools and colleges, and sufficient availability of homes)
  • London is seen as performing particularly badly in terms of availability of homes (70% public, 74% businesses and 87% councillors thought London performed 'worse than expected')

Who should fund London's infrastructure?

  • Government grants should be the main source of funding for major infrastructure, including Crossrail 2 (36% public, 40% businesses, 60% councillors), rail and tube upgrades (34% public, 55% councillors), and new housing (47% public, 45% businesses, 57% councillors)
  • 40% businesses believe rail and tube upgrades should be funded through greater retention of tax revenue
  • 44% public and 47% businesses support funding Increased airport capacity through private investment
  • 49% public, 50% businesses and 62% councillors believe improved superfast broadband and mobile coverage should be funded privately

How can London remain competitive as an entrepreneurial city? (October 2015)

Why businesses want to be based in London

  • 69% of London adults, 74% of businesses and 80% of councillors rank London's reputation as a world-leading city as one of their top three most important reasons to be based in London
  • 42% of Londoners, 37% of businesses and 61% of councillors rank access to EU markets as one of their top three most important reasons to be based in London

Main barriers to London's competitiveness

  • An insufficient availability of homes is the main barrier to London being competitive with other UK and global cities (48% Londoners, 48% businesses and 69% councillors list this among the top three barriers)
  • Other factors include London transport costs (39% Londoners, 41% businesses and 34% councillors) and the price of commercial/office space (42% Londoners, 49% businesses and 34% councillors).

Challenges for new businesses starting in London

  • 62% of London businesses see the price of commercial and office space as the biggest challenge facing new businesses setting up in the capital

Helping new businesses set up in London

  • 62% of businesses believe boosting the visibility of potential funding and investment available would have a positive impact on small businesses setting up in London
  • Providing Government support schemes such as grants or advice would also be welcomed by London businesses (59%)