How Ken will use economy to attack Boris


9:40 am - July 29th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Ken Livingstone yesterday laid out a somewhat detailed economic policy in which he explained how he would challenge Boris Johnson’s administration, and the issues his campaign would highlight.

He said he was “setting out an alternative approach to protect Londoners”, calling the policy: Defending London’s Living Standards and Economy from the Tories.

On London’s economy the document points out:

* London’s unemployment rate (9.3%) is above the national average (7.9%). The economic inactivity rate in London is 23.7%, which is the worst inactivity rate in the whole of England;

* The need for greater engagement with major economies including India, China and Brazil and the damage caused by Tory government cuts on falling levels of public and private investment in London;

* The mounting cost to Londoners of Boris Johnson’s inaction on issues such as pollution and his vanity projects including the fantasy Thames airport and new bus (over £500 million).

His campaign made several pledges:

1. Holding down bus fares, following a rise in the cost of a single bus fare by a third under Boris Johnson – delivering the lowest possible fares is the biggest contribution that the Mayor can make to protecting Londoners living standards against the effects of the recession;

2. Making the Living Wage a condition of procurement, employment and services within the GLA group and ODA and using every lever to convince London employers to implement the Living Wage;

3. Building a new consensus across London for new infrastructure projects to improve the quality of life in London and create new jobs;

4. Opposing Tory-Lib Dem plans to privatise the Royal Mail and cut housing benefit which threatens thousands of Londoners.

5. Lobbying for a fair taxation system, rejecting Tory calls to lower the top rate of tax to 40%.

He said he was calling for a shift in priorities “from defending bankers’ bonuses” to “defending Londoners from cuts and investing in new jobs”.

I believe it is essential that the Mayor uses every lever to convince London employers to implement the Living Wage and make the Living Wage a condition of procurement, employment and services.

Whilst Boris awards pay hikes to his staff and regards his £250,000 a year salary from the Telegraph as ‘chickenfeed’ millions of Londoners are struggling to make ends meet and need a Mayor who will fight for them.

You can read the Economic Policy from here.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Thanks for reproducing the press release.

Remind us what happened to fares under KL?

2. Flowerpower

@ 1

Quite. And perhaps even more pertinent – what happened to fares under Boris? The extension of the Oystercard to overland trains resulted in a 30% reduction in fares on many routes.

So 5 pledges.

1 is a pledge to raise fares as little as possible, so does not really mean much. I think you may find all mayoral candidates sign up to this anyway.

2 is a committment to make things more expensive for London government spending (I am not commenting whether it is fair or not). It does not really work well with 1.

3 sounds expensive, but means nothing without some substance. It’s hardly as if London doesn’t have infrastructure projects at the moment, so where is the new money coming from?

4&5 are national political issues, over which Mr Livingstone has no control.

I note there is no attempt here to deal with the criticisms of Mr Livingstone’s administration which were aired at the last elections, although surely that would be a useful thing to try and disarm.

“The economic inactivity rate in London is 23.7%, which is the worst inactivity rate in the whole of England”

Many of those “economically inactive” people are called ‘mothers’.

There is no question that Boris has had a slow start – he probably doesn’t have the tools yet to act effectively.

But the Oyster card extension and the bike scheme are serious in roads into making London a better place to travel.

I am a fan of Ken, but I see nothing substantial in his pledges to keep the ball rolling for London. Ken needs to credit what Boris has done to sustain Kens original good initiatives, while coming through with more plans. And possibly stop this “its me against the world” lark.

@ Laban

Many of those “economically inactive” people are called ‘mothers’.

Good point. Others are called students, retired etc.

7. Rhys Williams

Laban and Cat
#Many of those “economically inactive” people are called ‘mothers’

They don’t have mothers or retired people in Paris or Berlin then.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    How Ken will use economy to attack Boris http://bit.ly/d7cGgx

  2. John Halton

    Reading Ken's economic policy for London makes me glad our CLP backed him rather than Oona. Good stuff: http://bit.ly/9ftvQU #yesweken

  3. Ken Livingstone Team

    RT @libcon: How Ken will use economy to attack Boris http://bit.ly/d7cGgx

  4. 0-i biz

    How Ken will use economy to attack Boris | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/bKtN6u

  5. For Free

    How Ken will use economy to attack Boris | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/bKtN6u

  6. Ken versus Oona « Raincoat Optimism

    […] 8.7%. ReutersAn error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later. Liberal ConspiracyHow Ken will use economy to attack Boris July 29, 2010 Sunny HundalWhy does Nick Clegg keep misleading us about the economy? July 29, 2010So […]

  7. tonya streeper

    How Ken will use economy to attack Boris | Liberal Conspiracy: How Ken will use economy to attack Boris. by Sunny … http://bit.ly/bKtN6u

  8. Brian Vinay

    How Ken will use economy to attack Boris | Liberal Conspiracy: The need for greater engagement with major economie… http://bit.ly/auNeFh

  9. Cat Smith

    RT @johnhalton: Reading Ken's economic policy for London makes me glad our CLP backed him rather than Oona. Good stuff: http://bit.ly/9ftvQU #yesweken

  10. Edward Mann

    RT @libcon How Ken will use economy to attack Boris http://bit.ly/d7cGgx <Glorious stupidity, nicely nailed by the comments!





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