What Labour's General Election win means for London from TfL changes to housing

A man sits in his makeshift bed under the Westway flyover
-Credit: (Image: acundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon)

The Labour Party has won the 2024 General Election in a landslide victory, securing 412 seats across the UK and many in London, slightly bettering the exit poll prediction of 410 seats. The Conservatives took a battering, reducing their share of seats in Parliament to just 121 - ten fewer even than the exit poll suggested.

But what will a Labour government mean for London? The Labour manifesto gives us some hints as to what could be in store for London, from housing through to TfL changes.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor for London, also spoke to the BBC earlier today (July 5) and shared his thoughts on Sir Keir Starmer's win. He said: “I'll be working with him straight away; I've been in touch with him today.

READ MORE: Every word of Sir Keir Starmer's first speech as Prime Minister outside Downing Street

"I'll make sure that with, you know, a Labour government, and me as the mayor, is working as closely with him as possible. Look, for the last eight years, we've had a Tory government putting obstacles in our way, rather than working with us for the benefit of our city and our country, working against us. That will not happen with a Labour government."

Mr Khan added: "Sir Keir made us believe he could do this. There have been some wobbly moments. In my wildest dreams I didn't think we would ever be here."


Sir Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner and Sadiq Khan visit Brent Cross town visitor pavilion as Labour pledged a permanent mortgage guarantee scheme to get 80,000 young people on the housing ladder over the next five years
Sadiq Khan has previously fought to protect greenbelt land around London -Credit:Carl Court/Getty Images

In the Labour manifesto, the party pledged to "make housing more affordable" and said Britain has been "hampered by a planning regime that means we struggle to build either the infrastructure or housing the country needs". They've pledged to build 1.5 million new homes across the country over the next parliament, though it's not known at this stage how many of these homes will be in London.

They will take a "brownfield first approach", the manifesto says, but the party has also said Labour will "take a more strategic approach to greenbelt land designation and release to build more homes in the right places". They will also prioritise lower quality 'grey-belt' land and will introduce 'golden rules' ensuring developments will benefit both communities and nature, the manifesto says.

Sadiq Khan has previously fought to protect greenbelt land around London, saying in 2021: "London's greenbelt prevents urban sprawl, driving the reuse and intensification of previously developed land.

"Prioritising development of brownfield land is a key part of the approach the London Plan takes to meeting London's substantial housing need. This ensures there is sufficient space for other essential land uses without encroaching on the greenbelt or other designated open spaces, including Metropolitan Open Land."

The Metropolitan greenbelt is the designated area in and around Greater London. It now covers parts of 68 different districts or boroughs. In its manifesto, Labour also says it would support 'urban extensions and regeneration projects'.

The Labour Party has promised to deliver the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation in their manifesto, but also say they will ensure that the homes being built will be high quality, well designed and sustainable.

TfL and National Rail

Labour has promised to bring the railways into public ownership
Labour has promised to bring the railways into public ownership -Credit:Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu

Labour has promised to bring the railways into public ownership. Its manifesto states: "We will do this as contracts with existing operators expire or are broken through a failure to deliver, without costing taxpayers a penny in compensation.

"Great British Railways will deliver a unified system that focuses on reliable, affordable, high-quality, and efficient services; along with ensuring safety and accessibility. It will be responsible for investment, day-to-day operational delivery and innovations and improvements for passengers, working with publicly-owned rail operators in Wales and Scotland."

MyLondon reported on June 6 that this means Mr Khan may have to amend his promise to bring London commuter railway services under TfL's control as Labour steps in. During the London mayoral election campaign on April 26, the mayor pledged to bring suburban London railway services under TfL's control, creating a 'revolutionary metro-style' system.


London will be given new powers to franchise local bus services under a Labour government
London will be given new powers around bus services -Credit:Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto

London will be given new powers to franchise local bus services under a Labour government. Labour's manifesto also states: "Building on the work of Labour mayors, we will reform the broken system through new powers for local leaders to franchise local bus services, and we will lift the ban on municipal ownership. This will give local communities in England control over routes and schedules."

A franchise means enabling local authorities to determine the details of the services provided – including where they run, when they run and their standards. Typically, bus operators provide their services under contract to the local authority who can allow whatever sort of contract they feel is appropriate.

In April, Mr Khan pledged to establish a new London Bus Company to bring the city's routes back into public ownership for the first time in 30 years. The bold plan could see the vast majority of London's 675 bus routes gradually taken out of the hands of private companies for the first time since 1994 as their contracts with TfL expire.

Sir Keir Starmer pictured in black suit and shirt adjusting his collar and smiling
Sir Keir Starmer talked to MyLondon in Uxbridge on June 1 -Credit:Adam Toms/MyLondon

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told MyLondon in June after being asked about whether he would ensure Mr Khan had the cash to deliver his transport promises - including a metro-style commuter system - that Mr Khan has 'got the right priorities for London', and these were 'vindicated' at the mayoral election on May 2. He added that a Labour government and mayor working together would be a 'game changer' for the city, a phrase also used by Mr Khan.

The Labour leader claimed that the Tories had used the Mayor of London as a 'thing to fight and deal with conflict'. Asked specifically about money, Sir Keir told MyLondon: "Well look, we will work together. He has got good plans on transport. He's got good plans on housing - one of our missions is to build 1.5 million houses - working together with the mayor and we can deliver on these much needed promises for the country."


On homelessness, which has been growing in London, the Labour manifesto says: "The last Labour government made huge strides in ending homelessness. Under the Conservatives, that progress has been undone, with rough sleepers an all too-common sight in our towns and cities, and a sharp rise in hidden homelessness.

"Building on the lessons of our past, Labour will develop a new cross-government strategy, working with mayors and councils across the country, to put Britain back on track to ending homelessness."

Sadiq Khan has pledged to end homelessness in London by 2030.

New powers for Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan celebrating Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer winning the 2024 General Election
Sadiq Khan celebrating Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer winning the 2024 General Election -Credit:Ricky Vigil/Getty Images

Labour says it would 'deepen devolution settlements for existing Combined Authorities'. Its manifesto adds: "Labour will review the governance arrangements for Combined Authorities to unblock decision making.

"We will provide greater flexibility with integrated settlements for Mayoral Combined Authorities that can show exemplary management of public money. On housing and planning we will seek to consolidate powers to allow for improved decision making."

Sir Keir would also found a new 'Council of the Nations and Regions'. This, Labour says, 'will bring together the Prime Minister, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, the First and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and the Mayors of Combined Authorities'.

In March, Mr Khan told MyLondon that he wants more fiscal power devolved to him from central government. He said: "One of the things I'd like to talk to the Government about is devolving to us the monies they raise through vehicle excise duty. Drivers in London pay, roughly speaking, £500 million in what we call road tax. That road tax money goes to the Treasury, very little comes back to Londoners.

"One of the conversations I want to have with Treasury is how we can simplify things, so [things like] road tax, other things." Mr Khan added: "Imagine you're driving, you're paying your road tax, you're paying charges during the course of a day. Technology can make it easier, but working with the Treasury, the DfT and others, we need to think about how we can make it easier across the country."

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