Sadiq Khan has launched his campaign to be re-elected as the Mayor of London by calling for a post-war style economic recovery package for the capital.
The Labour incumbent said that “jobs, jobs, jobs” for Londoners affected by the coronavirus crisis will be a top priority if he wins a fresh mandate in the May election.
Mr Khan described the forthcoming contest – postponed from last year due to the pandemic – as a “two-horse race” between himself and Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey.
The Labour candidate has been accused of “broken promises” by his Tory rival, who claims that Mr Khan has failed to deliver on a number of pledges in his 2016 manifesto.
In his first speech of the campaign, held virtually alongside Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, Mr Khan said he believed that the capital could be an “even better city after the pandemic than it was before”.
He referred to his own experiences growing up in the capital and called for a programme of economic recovery similar to that implemented in 1945 after the Second World War.
“I grew up in a London that was still fundamentally shaped by the great reforming Labour government of 1945,” he said on Thursday afternoon.
“A government that not only rebuilt our country from the ashes of the Second World War but established a new and lasting social contract between the state and the British people.”
Mr Khan pledged to invest an extra £5 million into central London in efforts to attract Londoners and domestic tourists back to the West End, which has been badly hit by coronavirus restrictions in the capital.
He also promised to maximise City Hall expenditure to help aid job creation and retention for Londoners, as well as boosting green jobs and supporting small businesses.
The Labour candidate also set out his blueprint for “fixing the housing crisis” in the speech, which he said would build on the “foundations” of his first term.
“In a second term, we will work to eradicate rough sleeping for good, campaign for rent controls and deliver the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need, not the luxury penthouse apartments still prioritised by the Tories,” he added.
Mr Khan said he would continue to focus on tackling crime in the capital and cleaning up the city’s air if re-elected for a second term on May 6.
But Conservative mayoral candidate Mr Bailey accused the Labour candidate of “broken promises” across every policy sector, including on housing and transport.
Mr Bailey claimed the capital needed a “fresh start” and pledged to recruit more police officers, rebuild London’s infrastructure and help the city go green.