London's Policy Number One: Social Mobility For Londoners

Huffington Post: If you've heard me speak in public, you just may have heard me describe my journey to becoming a fully fledged Londoner as being in some way like that of Dick Whittington's. He was poor, without formal education - just a twinkle in his eye and a bit of determination. The fact that he became mayor of London is purely coincidental.

However, my goal has changed. I now want to be one Mr Frank Buttle.

"Innovative Ways of Raising Money"

Born in 1878, Buttle, also an entrepreneur, set himself the goal of raising £1m to form an endowment which would "send out to life 1,000 children a year who are either illegitimate or from broken homes". He was talking about the thing we now describe as social mobility. The right, and help, to fulfil your potential regardless of background or where you went to school.

Today that trust stands at £50m and is managed by Buttle UK who continue his amazing work. It was said of Buttle (who walked everywhere a dressed modestly to the point of eccentricity), "Despite his great fortune, he was always focused on helping those who are less advantaged than him through innovative ways of raising money".

Today, I want to set London a new new goal. I want to raise £1bn every year for a Londoner's Fund, and invest this money to create a London endowment to support our good causes. This £1bn can be raised through a new London Lottery and a Hotel Tax on Tourist stays which is a real money-maker in many other European cities - but has never been tried here. These provide a fantastic untapped source of revenue, without imposing punitive taxes on Londoners.

Investing £1 billion A Year In Londoners

How would you spend a billion pounds a year? It's a nice problem to have. Do you know that we currently spend a little over £1m on the essential No Second Night Outservice that scoops new homeless people up each night as they hit the streets and puts them on the right track before they hit irreversible problems stemming from drug abuse, disease from prostitution and the nightly risk of attack or exposure.

London's Air Ambulance doesn't fly people to hospital. It performs 6 emergency roadside procedures a day on people who probably wouldn't make it back in time. The helicopter is out of service for 80 days a year so London need's a second one. This would cost about £1.5m a year but London, the most productive city in the world who floods the rest of the country
with money for a broken grant system that provides almost nothing for the capital, can't afford this essential machine exposing 480 Londoners a years to an early death. And heaven knows how essential it would be when London experiences it's inevitable next major incident.

We don't even have the money to pay for our kids hospice Barnet - Noah's Ark.
Mayor Boris had made an impressive start by establishing the Mayor's Fund for London. A non-political trust that currently works to ensure 4,500 hungry kids get breakfast every morning, that any kids struggling with literacy or numeracy get additional help and kids nearing school leaving age get placements and mentoring from our fine businesses and public institutions. The Mayor's London Fund's chairman, Matthew Patten, wants London to be a place where anyone, regardless of background, can get on in life. It's that magic idea again - social mobility, allowing anyone to get on. Frank Buttle would have been so proud.

My Candidacy For Mayor Is About Social Mobility

It's made me wonder, how can I use my candidacy to do something useful regardless of whether the Conservatives select me as their candidate? After all, I've dedicated every moment of every day to this race - it would be a great shame not to harness that energy.

So here goes: I want to call on Transport for London to release 75% of the £100m they are holding in 'forgotten' Oyster Card money - into the hands of the Mayor's Fund before I'm mayor. This money had been rolling up for 13 years and the majority will never be claimed. Let's use it for London's most vulnerable young people and give them a chance to compete with that Eton lot.

I will continue to work for a Lottery for London, the Londoner Card and a Hotel Tax - all of which aim to rebalance London for Londoners from all walks of life.

A huge note on social mobility is that it's about creating opportunity for all - but there's no point destroying the engine that will bring London a city for Londoners. I'm sick of the City, developers and our rich guests from overseas being scapegoated as social pariahs by a loony left controlling a politics of envy agenda.

London's Success Is An Amazing Asset

As they described Mr Buttle, let's think of London in this way - despite its great fortune, let's focus on helping those who are less advantaged through innovative ways of raising money".

In short: don't kill London's success, just make it available to everyone.

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