Gareth Bacon is the Leader of the Conservative Group on the London Assembly.
Recently the London Assembly published an independent report, Mapping the Mayor’s Strategies, which scrutinises the Mayor’s priorities since he took office. As I expected, the results revealed a Mayor more concerned about show over substance than delivering for Londoners.
This is the first report by the London Assembly’s independent research unit, which investigated and evaluated the Mayor’s performance since his election in May 2016 in relation to his strategies. I welcome this report and would encourage more independent work to be carried out by the Assembly in future. It is vital that we hold Sadiq Khan to account for his dismal record as Mayor of London.
The report highlights two key areas: the disparity of funding between inner and outer London boroughs – and the Mayor’s desperate lack of measurable policy targets.
Firstly, the report exposes Khan’s continued war on the suburbs, highlighting the disparity of funding between inner and outer London boroughs. My constituency boroughs of Bexley and Bromley received a mere £102 million between them, which equates to just 0.73 percent of the total available Directly Allocated Capital Expenditure (DACE). The situation is even worse when looking at Sutton, the lowest funded London borough, which receives just £16 million of funding – a measly 0.11 percent of the total available. Meanwhile, in stark contrast, the inner London borough of Tower Hamlets received £865 million (6.3 percent of the total available spend) and Newham received £2.1 billion (15.4 percent of the total available spend).
Khan’s average directly allocated capital spending for inner London boroughs is £531.9 million. In comparison, the average spend for outer London boroughs is £367.1 million meaning that under Khan, who claims to be “a Mayor for all Londoners,” outer London boroughs are £164.8 million worse off. When historians look back at Sadiq Khan’s tenure, they will surely conclude that he was nothing more than a Zone 1 Mayor.
The report also reveals the shocking number of policy targets and actions which Khan has set but which cannot actually be measured, with around two thirds of Khan’s actions being immeasurable.
With crime rates under Sadiq Khan going through the roof, it is no surprise that Londoners regularly point to crime as their number one concern. Although it is the area with the largest number of actions set by the Mayor, 84 percent of them are completely immeasurable. This means that the Mayor has made 227 pledges on policing which are completely meaningless. When Londoners are fearful for their safety, we need more than empty words – we need deliverable actions to keep our families safe. The London Assembly Conservatives at City Hall have developed a fully-costed plan which would cut the £83 million extra that the Mayor has wasted on PR, and bureaucrats, and other pointless expenditure, and use the money to put 1,378 more police officers on our streets. The fact that the Mayor has completely rejected this plan speaks volumes about his priorities for our city.
Khan’s reluctance to set measurable targets says a lot about his skewed priorities for London. Sport is the area with the highest proportion of measurable actions with 75 percent being measurable. While it is right for the Mayor to have a focus on encouraging Londoners to get into sport, it is striking how, in comparison, zero percent of the actions set for fire and resilience are measurable. By not being able to measure his fire and resilience actions, the Mayor is shying away from accountability and, in doing so, potentially putting the lives of Londoners at risk.
To make matters worse, just under half of the Mayor’s actions are to be completed after Khan’s time in office, with 28 percent of them not even having a date for completion. By pushing targets into the future – long after his mayoralty – Khan is shirking responsibility for solving London’s problems and palming them off to his successors. Without measurable targets, Khan cannot be held fully accountable. He is dodging scrutiny which Londoners will rightly interpret as a slap in the face to democracy.
The fact that an independent report presents such damning evidence of Sadiq Khan’s failed record as Mayor says a great deal. This is a Mayor who is only interested in inner London and has utter disdain for the suburbs; a Mayor who is keen on press releases and selfies, but comes up woefully short in terms of taking beneficial action in response to some of London’s most urgent problems. For the sake of all Londoners, the sooner this Mayor is out of the door, the better. But until May next year, we Conservatives at City Hall will continue to hold Sadiq Khan to account and push for his appalling record as Mayor to be scrutinised as comprehensively as possible.