Going out on a limb, I am going to say that a political election, like the New Year, brings a sense of hope and the spirt of goodwill. The election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor in May 2016, is a perfect example of this. Londoners were sold on his promise of a bold, innovative vision, and strong leadership for London.
Yet, with the ink barely dry on his acceptance of office, we got a litany of broken promises. From his promise that Londoners would not “pay a penny more in 2020” on fares; to his pre-election 50% affordable housing target which has now been downgraded to an “aspiration,” and a voluntary target of 35% to his pledge to plant 2 million trees, build 80,000 homes per year, to his guarantee that Londoners will suffer “zero days of strike action” under his Mayoralty.
On housing, not only has the Labour Mayor failed to live up to his promises, his delivery has been woefully inadequate.
In Khan’s first year in office, just 17,130 new homes were started across London, a 20% reduction from the previous year under Boris. This included 1,000 fewer affordable homes. Just 9,690 new GLA-funded homes were started, a fall in 25% reduction from the previous year. In the first eight months of this financial year, just 723 new affordable homes have been started. And since his election in May 2016, Khan has failed to build a single home for social rent. This compares very badly with the 100,000 affordable homes built by Boris, between 2008 and 2016.
His rushed earlier implementation of the Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) will cost an extra £780 million, split borough boundaries so some streets in Ealing will pay have to pay, whilst others will not, and potentially cost the fire brigade £31k per month to attend 999 calls in Central London.
It is therefore no surprise that the Labour Mayor is being viewed as a Mayor of Broken Promises and his first year and half in the job not a success. He has failed to address the three core challenges of his Mayoralty: sky-high house prices, expensive rail fares and the menace of knife crime. Only time will tell whether Khan’s PR stunts, will inspire hope and goodwill. Until then, its less Mayor Khan, and more Mayor Can’t!