Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and a candidate for the Conservative nomination for Mayor of London answers our questions
1) Why do you want to be Mayor of London?
I want to make London less expensive by:
– building more homes for young people to own and providing more affordable homes for essential city workers
– cutting tube, rail and travelcard fares and freezing bus fares
– keeping London safe by protecting neighbourhood policing
2) How would you increase the housing supply in London? What sort of housing is needed and where should it be built?
Above all we need market housing that costs less rather than more for the super rich. The key is to be clear what a Mayor can do around changing land use from brownfield industrial to mixed use commercial/residential, using new tube and rail lines to turbo charge growth as well as Mayoral exertion to accelerate 1-2 key strategic sites where the market is currently set to fail.
3) Would you favour a third runway at Heathrow? If not what alternatives do you propose?
I am opposed to Heathrow expansion and support a new Thames Estuary hub airport as the long-term solution for London and will unlock the growth potential along the Thames gateway. A third runway at Heathrow is politically undeliverable and environmentally disastrous. A second runway at Gatwick is a sticking plaster solution.
4) How would you hope to achieve a further reduction of crime in London?
The challenge for a future Mayor is to cut crime whilst finding a further £800 million savings over the next 4 years after the Met have already saved £600 million. Above all the police need to continue to focus on victim-based neighbourhood crime. I have pledged to fund 5000 police officers from the Mayoral precept and business rate growth.
5) Would you increase or reduce the Council Tax precept if you became Mayor?
I need to see the budget but I never raise taxes.
6) What extra powers – if any – would you like to see Mayor given, and why?
The Mayor always needs to work with the boroughs. I have called for devolution of London’s criminal justice system to cut the number of first time criminals, ensure swifter justice for victims and reduce reoffending AND save the taxpayer £500 million!
7) How do you propose reviving London’s high streets?
London is essentially a series of villages. I am a huge fan of Boris’s Outer London Fund which has helped to improve countless high streets with better signage and improved public realm. The Mayor needs to provide a pot of money for the boroughs to bid for. We need to tackle the parts of London where the upper parts of retail units remain empty for long periods.
8) Do you support the proposed Thames Water Super Sewer?
I oppose the Super Sewer and was the first local politician to do so publicly.
9) What would you do to reduce the unemployment rate in London?
It is enterprise that drives growth and growth drives prosperity for Londoners. As Mayor I will do more to help the million small and medium sized enterprises who provide the catalyst for London’s growth engine.
10) How would you seek to improve air quality in London?
My five point plan is to:
1. Increase the Congestion Charge for all commercial vehicles – including buses – that fail to meet Euro 6 emission standards from 2017.
2. Remove all diesel buses that do not meet Euro 6 standards within 1 year.
3. Ensure all taxis are zero-emission capable from July 2017.
4. Promote ultra-low emission vehicle use.
5. Double the size of the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund to support initiatives such as the use of dust suppressant spray.
11) What experience do you have that would qualify you to be Mayor of London?
I was a councillor for 16 1/2 years. I led the Conservatives to victory in 2006 and 2012 in a traditionally Labour borough and was H&F council leader for 6 years. I am currently Boris’s Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime and based at City Hall.
12) What do you think has been Boris Johnson worse mistake during his past eight years as Mayor?
Deciding to step down. He has been the greatest Mayor of the greatest city on earth – although there have only been two!