Goldsmith v Khan: Which London mayoral candidate is best for business?

Ahead of the London mayoral election 2016, we've compiled the business policies of the main opponents from the Labour and Conservative parties...

Tomorrow, May 5 2016, Londoners will take to the ballots to vote to elect the next Mayor of London.

Labour party candidate Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith of the Conservative party are expected to be the main contenders in the polls.

Both candidates have made big promises for the capital’s start-ups and small businesses – Khan has said he wants to be the “most pro-business Mayor of London yet” while Goldsmith has pledged to deliver for the “London businesses that make our city great”.

With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the essential policies from Khan and Goldsmith’s manifestos to help London’s business owners – big or small – decide which candidate is best for them and ultimately best for business…

Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan

Background: MP for Tooting, Khan is a former human rights lawyer who joined the House of Commons in 2005. He was the first Muslim to attend cabinet in 2009. He grew up in a council flat in Earlsfield and has mentioned that his father worked as bus driver for 25 years.

Main policies

“I will create a Business Advisory Board, made up of experts, to find solutions to London’s growth challenges and to feedback on policy”

“I will involve businesses in decision-making on issues of policy and planning, from skills and housing costs, to transport, infrastructure, and business space”

“I will establish ‘Skills for Londoners’ – working with businesses to ensure Londoners have the skills they need to grow”

“I will challenge unfair visa rules which make it harder for London businesses to bring in the world’s best talent”

“I will make childcare more affordable and accessible with a strategy that delivers for business and workers – including campaigning for business rate relief for childcare providers”

“I will explore incentives for businesses to provide investment in new homes which could benefit their workforce”

“I will prevent the loss of business space, by working with local authorities to stop the excessive conversion of commercial space”

“I will promote the provision of small business and start-up premises in housing and commercial developments through the London plan”

“I will provide live-work units as part of the Mayor’s affordable housing programme”

“I will champion London industry at home and abroad – working to attract ever more global businesses”

“I will establish City Hall as a strong voice for business at UK and EU level, to ensure a level playing field for London”

“I will secure Crossrail 2, Bakerloo line and London Overground extensions, as well as new river crossings, and move on to discussions about Crossrail 3”

“Following the model developed in New York, I will establish a tech talent pipeline to encourage young people to gain key digital skills –  I will ensure more girls are supported to develop tech skills, so that we can turn around the under-representation of women in tech jobs”

“I will make it a priority to tackle London’s ‘notspots’, ensuring better access to public-sector property for digital infrastructure”

“I will broker a deal between providers and local authorities to provide better access to public property and land for the installation of broadband infrastructure”

“I will appoint a chief digital officer to oversee growth in the sector as well as taking responsibility for increasing digital inclusion across our city and leading on cyber-security”

“I will put an open data strategy at the heart of London government, with a new London data office working to bring data from across boroughs and public agencies together”

Zac Goldsmith

zac goldsmith

Background: MP for Richmond Park, Goldsmith is a former journalist who worked as editor of The Ecologist until 2007 when he became an MP. He is the son of billionaire businessman Sir James Goldsmith and lives in Barnes.

Main policies

“I will set up a new Business Advisory Group, with the members nominated by the business community itself” – This group will draw up a package of priorities for the capital’s businesses”

“I will work with boroughs to ensure broadband becomes the ‘Fourth Utility'”- Goldsmith plans to use TfL’s network to deliver superfast broadband, with plans to lay cables of up to two kilometres a week”

“I will use TfL’s network of 260 underground stations to provide temporary, discounted shop space to retail entrepreneurs”

“I will require commercial developers to set aside space, protect space, or contribute funding to affordable workspace”

“My number one priority is securing funding for the Crossrail 2 by the end of my mayoral term”

“I will continue a programme of global outreach to […] represent businesses abroad. I will also involve scale-up companies in trade missions”

“I will work with utility providers to connect businesses much faster and with more flexible contracts”

“I will undertake a review of small business red tape in London; particularly when it comes to construction costs”

“I will work with government to support new procurement processes at City Hall to support smaller businesses”

“Using Google Campus as an example, I will set-up a matchmaking service between large companies with space and expertise, and smaller businesses who are looking to grow”

“I will look to introduce a nine-day ‘London Faster Payment’ whereby larger businesses could pledge to pay their smaller contracts within a nine-day target range”

“I will ensure funding is channelled into […] closing the London skills gap in engineering, construction, sciences, creative, financial services, and the digital economy”

“I will work with boroughs to amplify London’s existing clusters of talent – such as sciences, publishing and tech. In addition, I want to help London develop a major clean tech hub”

“I will streamline the bidding process to allow smaller and more innovative skills providers access to government funding”

“I will lobby for more businesses to take up the London Living Wage”

“I will follow the example of New York and appoint a chief data officer (CDO) to focus on data analytics. This CDO will ensure that as much London data as possible is open-access. This CDO will also be tasked with creating a smart city strategy for London”

“Finally, I will launch an annual £1m ‘Mayor’s Tech Challenge’ and invite businesses to come forward with innovative solutions to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing London”

Do you think Khan should get the business vote or are you more of a fan of Goldsmith’s policies? Share your views in the comment box below or tweet us @startupstowers

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