With the election of two more Labour mayors, the party has a chance to make a real difference to people’s lives
It has been an extraordinary 12 months. I’ve spent every day fighting to ensure that all Londoners get the opportunities that London gave to me. Change is hard and requires constant struggle and determination. There is no manual on how to run a global city like London. But I’m hugely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in just the first year.
We’ve made commuting more affordable for millions of Londoners, while introducing the night tube. We’ve started implementing the most ambitious plans to tackle air pollution anywhere in the world. We’ve put an extra dedicated police officer in every neighbourhood in London. We’ve appointed the first ever female commissioners of the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade – the best candidates for these jobs.
We’ve made big strides in the marathon task of turning around London’s housing crisis – with a record £3.15bn investment to build genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent and a new focus on tackling homelessness. And, just last week, I was delighted to hand over the keys to families moving into the first-ever London Living Rent homes, a new lower-rent scheme that boosts the home-owning dream for Londoners. I hope we’ve begun to show what Labour can achieve in power.
This last year has confirmed to me that cities – and city government – are the future. I have served as a member of parliament and a government minister before being elected mayor and I have seen how difficult it is to bring about change from Westminster. Government is painfully slow to react to our changing world and real change is blocked by the Whitehall “silo mentality”, special-interest lobbying and control freakery.
In stark contrast, city government can be nimble, proactive, better connected to the people we represent and quicker at adapting to the latest technology and techniques. I look forward to working with our new Labour mayors – Steve Rotherham in Liverpool city region and Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester – to build a network of Labour in power in cities, making a real difference to people’s lives.
Despite the many challenges we face, it is an incredible privilege to serve the people of London as their mayor. Our capital is the most creative, innovative, tolerant and optimistic city in the world. And it is this London spirit that gives me the absolute confidence that our city will continue to grow and flourish over the years ahead and that we will be able to overcome the many obstacles and challenges we face.