London Liberal Democrats launch manifesto to Take London Forward

Luisa Porritt has launched her manifesto for the London mayoral elections on 6 May saying:

“London is a liberal city. I’ll offer the progressive alternative to Sadiq Khan’s poor record our city needs. What would have been ten years of steady change has been accelerated in a year by the pandemic.”

Luisa is pledging to introduce a flexible travel card, block the Silvertown Tunnel and make the streets safer.

“What would have been ten years of steady change has been accelerated in a year by the pandemic. The rise of online shopping. The shift towards homeworking. What would have been ten years of steady change has been accelerated in a year by the pandemic.

“Do we try to reverse these big changes? Run promotional campaigns telling people to get back to the office? Or do we embrace change? Make a plan for it and make it work for Londoners.”

A flexible travel card will give Londoners the option of buying a four-day pass, saving flexible workers £520 a year and making it more affordable for them to work in the office when they need to.

People are spending less time in the office and businesses are going to see it as an opportunity to reduce space:

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to finally fix our housing crisis. We must challenge ourselves to convert these spaces into quality, affordable, zero-carbon homes.”

The Liberal Democrats will say no to the Silvertown Tunnel:

“It’s the Mayor’s dirty little secret… an expensive, polluting new road project that will drive a hole through our zero-carbon ambitions and take funds away from public transport projects we need.”

Luisa Porritt is pledging to make our streets safer by bringing back proper Community Policing:

“The current Mayor has closed half the police stations in London. We will call a moratorium on police station closures and look to reopen as many of the over 30 closed police stations as communities demand.”

“We must bring back proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and known personally to local people.”

Press release.

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4 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 16th Apr '21 - 12:44pm

    Politicians can decide whether police stations should be opened or closed – the police service however retain power over operation decisions and will be the ones to decide whether officers are assigned to work in, or from, any particular police station.

  • Nigel Jones 17th Apr '21 - 9:36am

    Best wishes to Luisa for her campaign; I like the items mentioned, though the community policing could be stronger and include the issues around protests and racism and also something about housing, which is a major cost that poorer Londoners suffer from.

  • Peter Hirst 20th Apr '21 - 3:11pm

    The challenge for London and Londoners is to retains its reputation as a world class tourism destination following Brexit.

  • Housing is indeed a major issue in London. The manifesto writes:
    Converting offices to homes:
    “If people are spending less time in the office, then businesses are inevitably going to see it as an opportunity to reduce the space they need. This is a once in a generation opportunity to finally fix our housing crisis. More of the same won’t do. We must challenge ourselves to convert these spaces into quality, affordable, zero-carbon homes.”
    One of the big issues around the world is what to do about soaring rents, fuelled in large part by hedge funds and private equity firms buying up swathes of cities property over several decades. Berlin introduced rent caps this year, but the state legislation has been struck down by the constitutional court https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/15/germany-highest-court-rules-berlin-rent-cap-illegal
    Denmark has what is referred to as the Blackstone law . Private equity firm Blackstone has spent recent years investing heavily in Denmark’s rental market. The government says the U.S. firm has taken advantage of a law that allows property owners to hike rents if they renovate properties https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/blackstone-rent-hikes-set-to-bring-about-law-change-in-denmark-1.1339292. “I think Blackstone has seen an opportunity to push people out of their homes to get fast returns,” Dybvad said. “We have not been used to that approach” in Denmark. “It challenges our culture of trust.” According to Denmark’s state broadcaster, there are examples in which rents jumped as much as 400% after Blackstone took over a property.
    The UN has accused the Blackstone Group of contributing to the global housing crisis https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/26/blackstone-group-accused-global-housing-crisis-un
    Barcelona introduced rent controls in 2019 https://therealdeal.com/national/2019/06/01/renters-in-barcelona-score-major-victory-with-new-rent-control-law/
    “Rents in Spain’s biggest cities, such as Barcelona and Madrid, have been rising steadily as foreign investors buy more apartments in the area. Blackstone, for example, has invested billions of dollars in the country since the 2012 financial crash. From 2014 to 2017, rents in Barcelona and Madrid rose by 60 percent.”
    This is the inevitable outcome of very low interest rates. Big financial investments firms can access funds at near zero cost and extract land values from communities around the world. Value that is created by the infrastructure and business investments made by these communities.
    Liberal Democrats have long known what the answer is – Land Value Tax to capture this communally created value for the public benefit.

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