Welcome to Refresh – a series of comment pieces by young people, for young people, looking for a response to Britain's biggest issues
Young Londoners have been failed. While our city establishment continues to go from strength to strength, the under-30 demographic are faced with rising levels of crime, limited housing opportunities, and a lack of identity. They deserve better.
The primary role of the Mayoral office is to provide safety and security to the London community. Under the present administration, efforts have been futile. Waves of knife, moped, and gang crime have plagued the capital on an unprecedented scale.
Growing up in such an environment, young Londoners are particularly susceptible to harm, either as the victims or the perpetrators. I want my legacy as Mayor to be making London the Safest City in the World. My approach will be twofold; first eradicating the existing sources of crime, then supporting and encouraging those most at risk to pursue a different life path.
This year has seen over 1,300 stabbings, more than 50 of which were fatal; London needs more police officers.
By securing an increased police budget from the Government I will provide the forces with the funds to eradicate violent crime from our streets. Supporting additional Section 92 officers – who are part funded by local authorities or businesses – will further combat crime at the local level. A community policing policy would allow those officers assigned to the district to forge relationships with residents, cooperating for a safer environment.
London fosters the most enterprising young people in the world, and they must be provided accommodated well, should we wish them to stay
Addressing our present crime epidemic does not end with punishing the current perpetrators, but also reducing the number of young people who are most at risk of joining them. The prevalence of gang culture stems from a false sense of belonging and societal respect. Consequently, a removal of gang culture must occur simultaneously to an initiative cultivating social responsibility.
Granting local councils extra funds to develop their existing youthservices and specifically target teenagers and young adults potentially exposed to gang influence would bring an end to our current situation and prevent it recurring.
A secure London must then be developed in favour of young people.
While international financial investment has flooded into London’s technology hubs, our young enterprise is being driven away by rising house prices and a limited supply of affordable homes. Consistently missed targets by the current mayor, Sadiq Khan, have heavily contributed to a generation of Londoners who are pessimistic about their future accommodation options. This must change.
By working alongside councils, I will redevelop and rejuvenate local estates into mixed tenure properties, the sale of which will be reinvested into meeting further housing demands. In seeking to construct more housing, currently underutilised but well-connected regions will be developed.
Wider London regions contain excellent public transport links yet are overlooked, despite having huge potential to meet current demand. Unlike under the present administration, this expansion will not come at the expense of local homeowners. As with any election I have campaigned in, fought, and won, local constituents will be at the heart of my decisions as Mayor. Undue urbanisation will not be imposed on anyone.
However, London fosters the most enterprising young people in the world, and they must be provided accommodated well, should we wish them to stay.
A more effective utilisation of existing transport networks must be complimented through a review of the infrastructure itself. A revitalisation of London’s public transport network is required to place the city at the forefront of sustainable metropolitan living while also making it affordable and attractive for young Londoners.
Current TfL schemes see the worst polluting buses simply moved to areas of low pollution. I want them removed completely
Congestion poses the greatest threat, with emissions from gridlocked vehicles across the city. Current TfL schemes see the worst polluting buses simply moved to areas of low pollution. I want them removed completely.
The decline in bus journeys undertaken in the suburbs must also be reversed, alleviating issues of overcrowding faced by rail and underground commuters. London’s recent heatwave, while potentially enjoyable to some, made tube commutes unbearable, exceeding the 30°C temperature limit Britain has for livestock transportation.
As such, I will modernise the underground, through the introduction of universally-desired air conditioning, and widespread WiFi connectivity.
Finally, I will seek to increase our use of London’s most overlooked natural resource – the Thames.
Freight transportation on our roads should instead be freight transportation on our river, reducing commute times and emission levels alike. Young people have continuously championed sustainability, and deserve their voices heard, acknowledged, and understood.
With Brexit on the horizon, London requires a spokesperson to champion its residents and needs a Mayor who believes Brexit can succeed. London’s under-30s voted overwhelmingly against leaving the European Union, however, by the time of the Mayoral elections in 2020, such decisions will have played their course.
London’s place in the world must be that of leadership: in its economy, and its culture.
Having spent eight years on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, and travelled to countries in every continent, I have comprehensive understanding of why London remains at the forefront of global investment, innovation, and interest. Beneficial or not, the Mayoral office has become increasingly diplomatic, and requires not just an administrator, but an outwardly-looking states person.
I was born and raised in my East London/Essex constituency and I am proud to be part of a constantly evolving city. Our exit from the EU will beckon a new age for London, and with it, new opportunities for the next generation of Londoners. The present doubt and uncertainty of Brexit will fade, but London’s position as the foremost international city will not.
Andrew Rosindell is Conservative MP for Romford
______________________________________________________ What is Refresh? Refresh is a policy discussion forum with the express aim of reinvigorating s...