You deserve a Fare Deal, Ken tells Londoners
Ken Livingstone is running in this May's London Mayoral Election and was London Mayor between 2000 and 2008. The Labour candidate explains why his campaign is promising a Fare Deal, childcare grants and lower rent for Londoners.
I'm standing in this election because my kids are growing up in London now and someone needs to put the majority first. I don’t believe enough is being done in the capital about the cost of living, about crimes like burglary and robbery that are on the rise, about the price of housing and childcare, and helping people get into the workforce. We need a Labour mayor for that.
The central question of this election is: who will put the majority first - not just a privileged few? Who will improve living standards in tough times? The Conservative government’s policies, from high VAT to the budget that cut tax for the richest, mean people are feeling the squeeze. My key pledges aim to make Londoners better off.
At the heart of my campaign is my Fare Deal pledge, to cut fares by 7% and slash a bus fare from £1.35 to £1.20. If I haven't done this by October 7th, I’ll resign. This cut will leave the average Londoner £1,000 better off over the next four years. For Londoners living in outer London, the saving will be even greater.
It will be paid for using some of the annual profit the mayor raises because the fares are so high. It will not damage investment, because that budget is currently under-spent. I will cut fares, protect existing services, and invest for the future.
London parents keep telling me that when they take transport and childcare costs into account, it is not worth their while financially to be in work. The childcare they need is often not there at the time they need it.
That’s why I’m promising a grant and loan scheme to help parents with the upfront costs of childcare. We’ll also work with 100 nurseries across the capital to make childcare available at the times parents need it, rather than just between 8am-6pm. My childcare policy help London parents back into work.
It is vital for London’s future that people can make their home here. But we risk pricing people out of London, with the average rent for a two-bed flat costing over 50% of take home pay in 70% of London boroughs. That’s why I’m pledging to introduce the first not-for-profit London-wide lettings agency and lead a campaign for a London Living Rent.
Young and old in London have been hit hard by the Conservative party. The Educational Maintenance Allowance was cut, ending a £30 a week grant that acted as a lifeline to education for many teenagers and their families. I will restore EMA for London, working with colleges, universities and local authorities to do so.
With a Conservative administration in City Hall, London has lost out on over £400 million of funding for home energy efficiency that could have been secured from energy utilities’ national obligations. I will enable London households to save over £150 a year on energy bills through taking up money from energy companies for better insulation, and will establish an energy co-op to cut the prices for electricity and gas that Londoners pay.
Every single Londoner deserves to feel safe and secure in their home, neighbourhood and city. But Boris Johnson has admitted to cutting 1,700 police officers. If I am elected, I will reverse his cuts, and I will reinstate sergeants to all 600 Safer Neighbourhood Teams - and more of these teams will be beefed up to nine officers minimum. The link between police numbers and crime levels is clear, and my policing pledge will make London a safer city.
London can stay on a Conservative course, where the Mayor campaigns for a cut in the top rate of tax, or it can vote for Labour values that put people first.
My pledges will give real help to Londoners at a time when they need it most.