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
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
- Increase the number of Business Improvement Districts to 50
- 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
- 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
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
- Protect and re-develop the traditional high street. By 2020 all
neighbourhoods will have essential services and shops within
- 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
So over to you. Who will get your vote?