Khan’s reign: how has the London mayor fared so far?
SADIQ Khan marked his first six months in City Hall by celebrating the successes, but admitted there is still much to do before his changes can make an impact on London.
The Labour mayor, who won a landslide victory in the May elections, pledged to make fundamental changes to the city’s make up, including a serious investigation into the housing crisis and a travel fares freeze.
As he settled into the job and faced his first few weeks in the post, Mr Khan admitted “things cannot be fixed overnight”, but the former MP said he wanted to be a mayor for all Londoners who will tackle the challenges he faces.
Here, we take a look back at his election pledges and what he has achieved – or not – so far as the head of City Hall.
It was a mayoral elections “on housing” according to opposition Zac Goldsmith back in May – and there is no doubt the city’s crisis is still Londoners’ biggest concern.
Khan had pledged before the election to build 800,000 new homes in the first year, with half of those to be affordable homes.
However, with six months gone this is far from being achievable, and the Mayor admitted he cannot set a target for affordable housing after assessing the situation upon being appointed.
A few changes have been made since an initial dig at former mayor Boris Johnson “for leaving the cupboards bare”, including the launch of the country’s first review into foreign property owners and where their wealth comes from.
The affordable housing market gained a victory when more land was secured from Transport for London which can be built on, but Londoners have already been told they can’t expect changes “to happen overnight”, although there are plans to open a not-for-profit letting agency, preventing people from having to move regularly when landlords hitch up prices, as well as a database naming and shaming bad landlords.
Mr Khan said: “I want to be honest with Londoners from the start that it will take time to turn things around – we’re starting from a position where last year the previous mayor built the lowest number of affordable homes since records began.” Transport
One of the mayor’s key pledges was the promise to freeze rail fares for Londoners, something which he believes he has achieved in delivering.
However, when the announcement came the Mayor came under scrutiny after the decision was only passed for Transport for London (TfL) fares, excluding thousands who commute into the city.
Londoners reacted angrily to the news and although TfL said it was confident it could deliver the fares freeze, it was not good enough for many travelling from further afield.
Although Khan has urged the government to give City Hall control over suburban rail lines, this has yet to be addressed or accepted.
There have been some wins for the Mayor however, including the long awaited launch of the Night Tube, rolled out on the Central, Jubilee and Victoria lines.
The hopper fare also came into force very quickly, allowing some of London’s lowest earners to take two buses for the price of one within the hour.
There is no doubt London under Sadiq Khan has ambitious plans to tackle the dangerously high levels of air pollution, but whether they can be delivered is yet to be seen.
Key details of the plan to create the London Ultra Low Emission Zone include charging higher polluting vehicles in central London and bringing forward the plans from 2020 to 2019.
Recently, the Mayor mentioned the issue of pollution in the London Underground network during the People’s Question Time, saying there are specialists looking into how heat from underground can be re-used as energy.
However, these plans are yet to be put in place, and City Hall will be quizzing the mayor heavily on the new policies before they come into place.
Campaigning hard to remain in the European Union and experiencing defeat, the Mayor has not swayed from making it clear that London is open for everyone.
Launching his campaign #londonisopen, Khan visited Canada and the US to ensure countries know the city is open for business.
In speeches to the City’s leading businessmen and in interviews, Khan has made it clear he has been fighting for a spot in Brexit negotiations, saying that although the city “shouldn’t be independent” from the rest of the country, it does need to ensure students, businesses and leading people in all fields that London can be their home.
How effective this is remains to be seen, but businesses have agreed with the Mayor that Brexit has left corporations uncertain about their future here and this needs to be addressed.
Crime and policing
In the wake of terror threats increasing in the city, the Metropolitan Police force has introduced a number of changes which Khan has backed, including armed police patrolling the Underground and 600 more police officers joining the force.
Other changes have included the Mayor putting a firm stop to neighbourhood police officers losing their jobs, something which was discussed during Boris Johnson’s mayoral reign.
Khan has insisted every ward will be given a second PC to “bring back real, neighbourhood policing which the community needs”.
CHANGES: How has Sadiq Khan fared as London Mayor in his first six months?