London is full of ideas, dynamism and opportunities, provided you are willing to work hard and do the right thing. I know this as an entrepreneur that arrived here 25 years ago without any advantages, but that gradually was able to build a life for myself. London has done so much for me, and I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to succeed, no matter who they are or where they’ve come from.
My life has seen many highs and lows – I’ve tasted commercial success, but also experienced failure and had to pick myself up and start again. So I understand both very deeply. Encouraging success does not mean doing nothing about disadvantage and social exclusion, and that is a fundamental philosophy that we want to embody with this project.
There are, despite London’s great attributes, many challenges that face ordinary Londoners, which need to be addressed over the coming years.
These include assertively tackling the shortage of affordable housing (particularly for young people), addressing the rising cost of living and vigorously championing the case for more businesses to pay the London Living Wage. We must also remove both barriers to employment for those with disabilities, and educational disadvantage for many sections of society, also taking practical measures to tackle the scourge of homelessness across the capital.
We would look to:
Champion the London Living Wage.
Be a vocal champion of equality of opportunity and equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality.
Seek innovative ways to help working parents, and particularly single parents, with the cost of childcare, so as to ensure that it is always worthwhile to go out to work. Helping with cheaper loans and subsidised travel fares for single part-time working mothers will also be a priority of mine.
Do more to help Londoners with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment through targeted, employer-led initiatives across London.
Take practical measures to tackle homelessness in the capital, in particular by helping homeless charities in the capital to promote their work and access greater levels of funding.