Trust for London report: Over a third of Londoners earn less than needed to live on in London

Over a third of Londoners (34%) earn less than is needed to live on in London according to a new report from the Trust for London. The report found that costs from housing, public transport and childcare were pushing more people into poverty. The report shows the Mayor of London needs to recognise the strain the rocketing cost of living has placed on Londoners.

The Trust for London report is based on research gathered from members of the public in London on what they see as a ‘minimum income standard’ that can fulfil a ‘minimum socially acceptable standard of living’ which includes essential needs and participation in society.

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Boris Johnson has broken his promise to Londoners

Boris Johnson’s commitment to London has been called into question this week as it was announced the Mayor would join David Cameron’s political Cabinet in addition to his role as Mayor of London and newly elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. There is a real risk that the Mayor will get swept up in his parliamentary role and Londoners would be the real victims of the Mayor’s ambition.

Despite describing Mayor of London as the “greatest job in the world” it is now clear that Boris Johnson never regarded the mayoralty as anything more than a stepping stone to bigger things.

Johnson’s decision to stand for Parliament and then accept a place in the political cabinet, despite having another year to serve as Mayor, clearly breaks his promise after he pledged in 2012 that he was “absolutely not going to be returning to Parliament.”

With cuts to public services on the horizon, and ongoing challenges to housing and local infrastructure, Londoners need a Mayor who will look after the interests of our city – not one distracted by juggling two roles.

There next five years could be incredibly tough for London. We have public services facing further cuts, neighbourhood policing on the verge of collapse and the a housing crisis that is only getting worse. A Mayor with his eye off the ball will only add to these challenges.

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John Biggs campaign launch

I was proud to attend last night’s launch of John Biggs campaign for Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

I know John well. We are both Labour members of the London Assembly. He is a tireless worker for Tower Hamlets, and I am confident that his pledges – for clean politics and clean streets, a tough approach to crime and to prejudice, and more jobs and decent housing for all – will be implemented as a strong and effective Mayor.

With local councillor and representative of the Somali community Amini Ali and Asma Islam at John Biggs campaign launch

With local councillor and representative of the Somali community Amini Ali and Asma Islam at John Biggs campaign launch

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With Sarah Sackman and Joan Bakewell in Finchley and Golders Green

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Ealing Conservative candidate questions climate change

Dr. Rupa Huq, Labour’s candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, has run a great campaign to overturn the tiny margin enjoyed by Conservative Angie Bray. With the race so tight I wrote about astonishing remarks Bray made at a hustings event. You can read my piece on Left Foot Forward here.

It has also been pasted below.

Ealing Conservative candidate questions climate change

The threat to the UK economy isn’t from tackling climate change – it’s from climate change itself

melting

Ealing Central and Acton was a new constituency when Conservative Angie Bray won it with a slim majority of 3,716 in 2010. This year the race looks even closer, and that’s why the hall was absolutely packed when Bray turned up to a hustings earlier in the campaign.

I know Angie from her time as an Assembly member and my time as deputy mayor. As the Conservative group’s spokesperson on the congestion charge, Bray fought tooth and nail against our measure to reduce the number of cars idling in traffic in central London, even though it resulted in a 16 per cent reduction in CO2 upon implementation. She has continued this tack in parliament, even voting against plans to require private sector landlords to make their rented properties more energy efficient.

So I shouldn’t have been so surprised by what Angie said at the hustings.

Asked about the threat posed by climate change, Bray said that nobody could really predict the impact because ‘the science keeps changing’. That sounds like climate change denial to me.

What she was willing to predict, however, was that being a global leader on climate change would actually threaten the UK economy.

“It’s really important,” Bray said, “that we don’t go out so far ahead of the others – as some urge us to do – that we actually end up less competitive.”

She also warned that tackling climate mean means “less money made by the Treasury, less money to spend on the things we want public money spent on.”

Bray has it backwards. Expanding green industries, such as the secondary materials economy, could potentially create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK. Adaptation to climate change itself presents new business opportunities as well.

Bray says that being a leader poses a threat to the economy, but actually being a global leader in green industries offers the best chance for their success. The First Mover advantage of going ‘so far ahead of the others’ offers a real opportunity for the UK.

The threat to the UK economy isn’t from tackling climate change – it’s from climate change itself. There is a huge cost to inaction. Research from Nicholas Stern at the LSE, for instance, suggests that a global temperature rise of 18 degrees (from pre-industrial levels) would lead to a halving of global GDP.

Unfortunately, Bray can’t see the opportunity. In fact, she only sees the threat – just not the right one.

In contrast, Labour’s candidate Dr. Rupa Huq is no stranger to the science. She offers a common sense approach to addressing the important issues, including climate change. That’s why I hope she is able to overturn that slim majority tomorrow.

Nicky Gavron is a member of the London Assembly and a former deputy mayor of London

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Telephoning with Sarah Sackman

sarah sackman telephoning

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Sarah Sackman impressed at Hustings

Finchley & Golders Green Hustings at LJCC

With Labour’s Finchley and Golders Green candidate Sarah Sackman

On Tuesday night I went to the London Jewish Forum hustings, held at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green.  The reason why Sarah Sackman, Labour’s impressive candidate in Finchley and Golders Green, is within striking distance of winning the Thatcher’s old seat was apparent.  It was a pleasure to watch her in action.

 Sarah is a young public law barrister, who grew up in Finchley. She is proudly Jewish and her late grandfather was an Israeli ambassador. This is important in a seat where 22% identify as Jewish.

 However, this is not the reason why the seat may fall to Labour in a week’s time. The Tories did not even consider this seat to be a marginal. Last night I watched Sarah, in front of a primarily hostile audience, bat aside difficult questions with intelligence and skill. Even those in the audience who do not usually support Labour came away impressed. David Byers, Foreign News Editor at the Times, has described her as ‘the one to watch’.

 Sarah stood for selection after representing residents fighting to keep Friern Barnet library open. She and her team are running a community based campaign, with campaigns to save libraries, reverse cuts to disabled services and protect NHS walk in centres. Last week she held a public meeting for those affected by the proposed Brent Cross regeneration scheme. Over 300 people squeezed into a hall to listen to leading legal experts talk about the process and their rights. Residents who do not normally engage with politics tell volunteers that they are ‘voting for Sarah’.

 A win in Finchley and Golders Green, Thatcher’s old seat and against the vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, is within Labour’s grasp.

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