London mayoral election: what are the candidates' key policies?

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Sadiq Khan, Labour

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged young people to vote on May 2 (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged young people to vote on May 2 (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Mayor since 2016, previously Labour MP for Tooting. Former lawyer, married with two adult daughters. Political pugilist who finds it hard to resist a verbal punch-up with the Tories. Often deflects criticism of his record by blaming the Government. Seeking to be first London mayor to serve three terms.

Policy: Free school meals for primary school children

What he promises: “Work to make universal free school meals permanent for all state primary school children.”

What’s achievable? Introduced as a one-year “emergency” measure to ease the cost of living crisis, free school meals proved so popular that Mr Khan wants to make them permanent. What’s unspoken is that he would have faced a political backlash had he axed them. But the £140 million annual cost — currently drawn from City Hall reserves and business rates — could push up council tax bills in future.

Policy: Ruling out pay-per-mile road charging

What he promises: “I rule out a move to any form of pay-per-mile smart road user charging system.”

What’s achievable? Normally, candidates are judged on what they plan to do. Such is the row whipped up by the Tories around the Ulez and congestion charge potentially being replaced with a pay-per-mile “smart” system that Mr Khan felt obliged to make clear that it won’t happen on his watch. He claims that the “success” of Ulez means he can hit “net zero” targets by 2030 without pay-per-mile. But the impact of its expansion on air quality is as yet unknown, and ditching pay-per-mile weakens his green credentials.

Policy: Tube and bus fares freeze

What he promises: “Freeze TfL fares until at least 2025 and continue to freeze fares for as long as economic conditions allow”.

What’s achievable? Mr Khan has “frozen” fares five times since 2016, but it’s not as good as it sounds. Single pay-as-you-go fares may have remained unchanged, but the daily and weekly “cap” on multiple journeys and the cost of Travelcards has kept rising — meaning passengers who make multiple journeys pay more. His first four-year fares freeze deprived TfL of £640 million and the latest freeze — until next March — requires £123 million of City Hall funds to plug the gap in TfL’s budget.

Policy: Ending homelessness and cleaning up the Thames

What he promises: “I will set London on a course to end rough sleeping by 2030… I will launch an ambitious plan to make rivers in London swimmable within 10 years.”

What’s achievable? The number of people living on the streets has risen by 71 per cent since 2016. At the last count, 4,389 people were sleeping rough. As for making the Thames swimmable, a massive clean-up would be needed: it suffered 1,180 sewage spills last year.

Susan Hall, Conservative

Susan Hall, Conservative candidate for Mayor of London (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)
Susan Hall, Conservative candidate for Mayor of London (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

London Assembly member, former Harrow council leader, grandmother, lapsed Twitter addict. Self-imposed alcohol ban until after May 2. “Most dangerous mayoral candidate I’ve faced,” says Mr Khan.

Policy: Scrap the Ulez expansion

What she promises: “Scrap the Ulez expansion and pay-per-mile on day one.”

What’s achievable? If elected, Ms Hall will be able to stop TfL charging drivers of non-compliant vehicles. But the Ulez extension has generated about £150 million for TfL since last August — she has not explained how she’ll replace this, or whether fines issued up to polling day will be enforced.

Policy: 1,500 more Met police and return to borough policing

What she promises: “I will recruit 1,500 new police officers…. as part of a top-to-bottom overhaul of the Met Police.”

What’s achievable? A year ago the Met had 34,500 officers. It’s fallen to 34,000 as it struggles to recruit and retain. The cost of opening two police “bases” per borough is unknown. An estimated 36 police stations have shut across London. Returning to borough policing is also likely to cost more, but could improve responses and community relations.

Policy: Extend the Night Tube

What she promises: “I will expand the Night Tube to the Hammersmith and City line. I will aim to expand it further to the Circle, District and Metropolitan lines when feasible.”

What’s achievable? The Night Tube offers a cheap and mostly safe way to get home at weekends. Extending it to the District line would be more useful than the Hammersmith and City. But Mr Khan liked the idea so much he pledged to do likewise.

Policy: Women’s commissioner; targeting sexual harassment on the Tube

What she promises: “I will appoint a women’s commissioner, whose sole focus will be implementing a strategy to make our city safer for women.”

What’s achievable? Great idea, especially in light of the Sarah Everard murder. Could bring a different perspective to many decisions on policing and transport.

Zoe Garbett, Green

Bridging the gap: Zoe Garbett, green candidate (Supplied)
Bridging the gap: Zoe Garbett, green candidate (Supplied)

Young, fashionable, energetic Green councillor in Hackney. NHS administrator. Renter. Articulate, thoughtful yet surprisingly cautious on road charging. Break-out star of mayoral campaign.

Policy: Free bus travel for under 22s

What she promises: “Immediately freeze bus fares, with free bus travel for under-22s and asylum seekers.”

What’s achievable? At £1.75, London bus fares are already the lowest in the country. Mr Khan has deliberately kept them low, knowing that poorer Londoners rely on buses rather than the Tube. But bus passenger numbers are in decline, largely because of buses getting stuck in traffic jams.

Policy: Flat fares on Tube and rail

What she promises: “Work towards one single, low fare for all public transport

What’s achievable? The aim is to make journeys cheaper in outer London. The danger is that the opposite could happen, as TfL is required to break even on a day-to-day basis. Without fares income, TfL would struggle to find the billions needed to maintain the Tube. The idea would be trialled on the DLR.

Policy: Rent controls

What she promises: “Demand rent control powers for London, and bring in a two-year freeze when we get them.”

What’s achievable? This is fantasy. The Mayor does not have the power to control rents in the private sector. Government legislation would be needed. Would be likely to push up rents as many buy-to-let landlords would leave the sector, reducing the supply of homes.

Policy Free meals for secondary pupils; Hammersmith bridge only for cyclists and pedestrians

What she promises: “Extend universal free school meals. Permanently designate Hammersmith Bridge for walking, wheeling and cycling.”

What’s achievable? Extending free school meals to secondary pupils would cost at least another £140million a year — but would be cheaper and easier than reopening Hammersmith Bridge to cars.

Rob Blackie, Liberal Democrat

Lib Dem mayoral candidate Rob Blackie (Andrew King Photography)
Lib Dem mayoral candidate Rob Blackie (Andrew King Photography)

Adviser to tech start-up companies. Spent two years in Africa on elephant conservation projects. Father of two. Cancer survivor.

Policy: Fix the Metropolitan police

What he promises: “I will get the Met focused on convicting violent offenders and rapists.”

What’s achievable? The Met’s clear-up rate for sexual offences has fallen from 18 per cent in 2015/16 to nine by 2022/23. Mr Blackie would establish a sexual offences unit, free up 6,000 “back-office” police and boost the use of technology.

Policy: ‘London passport’ for EU citizens

What he promises: That he would “help EU citizens by providing legal support for their right to remain in the UK.”

What’s achievable? City Hall does not have the power to issue passports. Likely to be of marginal benefit but recognises skills shortages since Brexit.

Policy: Hail-and-ride buses

What he promises: “Running a trial to make buses hail-and-ride after 10pm, allowing you to flag down the next bus... improving safety.”

What’s achievable? Would it be safe for passengers to step on or off the bus at random locations?

Policy: Solar panels for £500

What he promises: “Londoners are paid up to £500 to install solar panels, paid back by allowing London government to sell this electricity back to the grid.”

What’s achievable: A previous City Hall scheme suffered multiple problems.