What issues will decide the London mayoral election?

The election for the next London Mayor will take place on the 5th of May, and the campaigns are already underway.

Labour’s Sadiq Kahn and the Conservative’s Zac Goldsmith are widely considered to be the front runners. But Caroline Pidgeon of the Liberal Democrats, Peter Whittle of UKIP and Sian Berry of the Greens will all hope to perform well.

 

It is sure to be an intriguing campaign, with so many different issues contributing to the complicated political scene in London.

I spoke to Nero Ughwujabo, the Chief Executive of Croydon BME Forum, to find out what issues he thinks will define the upcoming election.

“There are so many issues so it’s a tough question,” he said. “Housing will certainly be important, as will the cost of public services such as transport. If you put all of this together, I suppose ‘cost of living’ is the umbrella term.

“But from a BME perspective, issues like housing and unemployment are particularly important, because so many of the Londoners who are living in poverty are from BME communities. These issues will certainly be discussed, but I’m not sure if they will be framed in a BME context or not. The campaign may look at the issue from the perspective of young people instead, or some other demographic.

“And then there’s the issue of gentrification. People from poorer communities are being forced to leave London altogether because the costs are just too high. I hope that the candidates take this issue seriously.”

I asked passers-by in London for their views on what the most important issues are for Londoners.

“The big issue has to be housing,” said cleaner Jeremiah. “Whether you are buying or renting – the costs are just too high.”

“I think affordable housing,” agreed Rob, a Lighting Designer. “It’s so hard for anyone to buy a house these days. Someone’s got to address that. Transport is important as well. We need to carry on investing in that infrastructure and making it better for commuting Londoners.”

Council worker Ashley also brought up transport costs. “There are so many important topics,” he said, “but I suppose commuting is a big one. The cost is always rising, and that affects most Londoners.”

It wasn’t just transport and housing that people were concerned about though.

“For Londoners? What we need is a sense of community,” said Anna, a writer. “We need to go back to knowing and caring about each other like we used to in this city. That’s the most important thing.”

The campaign is still in its early stages, but it is clear that there are a few key issues which could define the race to be Mayor. This is the first time since the first Mayoral election in 2000 where there has been no incumbent standing to defend their record. With Boris Johnson standing down, this could be the most tightly fought election we’ve ever seen for London mayor.

Voice4Change will be covering this election regularly in the next five months, as well as the mayoral races in Liverpool, Salford and Bristol. We are keen to hear your views. Let us know what you think are the biggest issues in your area, by emailing me at ben@voice4change-england.co.uk