Boris, Ken, Brian or Jenny for mayor? It’s time to make up your mind

The campaigns have at times descended into a personality contest, featuring bad-tempered and frankly embarrassing slanging matches about who pays tax where.

But, hey, this is politics, what's new?

If the candidates' pledges to help you, the small businesses in London, have become lost in the heated arguments, check out this brief summary of what Boris, Ken, Brian and Jenny will do if they succeed at the polls.

Boris Johnson, Conservative

The incumbent mayor's most notable actions in his current term includes the "Boris Bikes" rental scheme, the withdrawal of bendy buses as well as pledging to introduce a new batch of Routemaster buses - one of his key pledges before the last Mayoral election.

He promises to:

  • Guarantee the £221m regeneration fund to support small businesses, town centres and high streets.
  • Launch a new £35m revolving fund, through the London Growth Fund, to provide low-cost loans  to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Increase the number of Business Improvement Districts to 50 across London.
  • Increase by a third the time motorists can park in "Stop and Shop" bays on TFL roads to support local businesses.
  • Strengthen the CompeteFor service so it continues to deliver easy access to contract opportunities across the GLA Group for small and medium-sized businesses.

Ken Livingstone, Labour

This is the fourth time the Labour veteran has run for office in London, having served two terms as mayor in the past.

He promises to:

  • Support the Labour party's plan for a national insurance break for small businesses to hire more workers.
  • Strengthen small businesses chance of winning contracts tendered by GLA bodies. This includes improving the CompeteFor site which, was established for Olympic contracts. Set up a "prompt payment" policy on GLA contracts and breaking contracts into bits to make them suitable for small businesses.
  • Establishing a high-quality London-wide business support service, working with major business organisations.
  • Establish an annual business summit.
  • Secure super-fast broadband investment in London.
  • Invest in furthering Tech City in East London.
  • Support manufacturing businesses in the capital through the creation of a productive industries committee.
  • Initiate new infastructure and transport improvements including the extension of Crossrail to Ebbsfleet and the creation of Crossrail 2 Chelsea-Hackney-Stansted.

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrats

It's no suprise the former deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police has put crime fighting at the top of his pledges this being his area of expertise.

He promises to:

  • Expand apprenticeships for young people, forming an apprenticeship alliance with major employers including Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
  • Create local enterprise zones.
  • Diversify the London economy from its over-reliance on financial services. This will include the promotion of creative industries and protection of manufacturing.
  • Challenge London's banks and investment houses to create a London Small Business Fund to avoid new start-ups being prevented from expanding due to lack of finance.
  • Ask big businesses in London to offer mentoring support and advice to small businesses and open up their contracting to London firms through the CompeteFor platform.
  • Ensure GLA companies list all contracts on CompeteFor so that small firms can bid for public sector contracts put out to tender.
  • Consult entrepreneurs on ways to improve the government's replacement Business Link service.
  • Demand that large companies give priority to local purchasing and to keep buying power in the local economy.
  • Insist central government extends to London businesses all the benefits from the national Insurance holidays and grant funds made available to other regions of the UK.
  • Set up a business board to spearhead involvement of large employers in job creation.
  • Help to support the high streets by insisting boroughs have schemes to provide Business Rate relief and preferential rental values.

Jenny Jones, Green Party

Jones may not seem the obvious choice for business but in the last London Mayoral elections the Federation for Small Business backed the Green Party as being the most in tune with the needs of its members and she has re-emphasised the importance of small businesses to the London economy.

She promises to:

  • Support a renaissance of micro, small and medium-sized businesses through investment in local infrastructure.
  • Use the Greater London Authority budget to support small businesses.
  • Protect and re-develop the traditional high street. By 2020 all neighbourhoods will have essential services and shops within walking distance.
  • Prevent chain stores taking over independent shops.
  • Encourage Londoners to "buy local".
  • Ensure public sector contracts go to small businesses. The aim is to ensure 15% of contracts go to small businesses.
  • Maintain the CompeteFor system. All contracts worth more than £10,000 will go on the procurement database.
  • Ensure small and local businesses aren't disadvantaged by congestion and parking. Introducing a pay-as-you-drive replacement for the congestion charge.
  • Only work with banks that lend to small business.
  • Increase small business representation in the community by ensuring they are properly represented on London's Local Enterprise Partneship.

So over to you. Who will get your vote?



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