In his new plan, A City for all Londoners, Sadiq Khan acknowledges developers’ difficulties in finding skilled workers and promises to keep London open to talent from around the world
“This will help construction companies to find the employees they need, and I will be able to help with any other skills shortages when the adult skills budget is devolved to my control,” he said.
In the wake of the EU Referndum, Sadiq Khan said businesses in London will need to draw on all possible sources of talent to steer them through this period of change.
“I do not set immigration rules at City Hall, but I will call on the Government to create an immigration system that keeps London open and enables London’s economy to thrive and grow, which will benefit not just London but the whole of the UK,” he said.
“And I will assist the settlement of new migrants to London to ensure that everyone can play an active and dynamic role in London’s growth – for example by working with partners to increase the accessibility of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses,” he added.
The new document builds on Sadiq Khan’s election manifesto and sets out how he plans to respond to the big changes London faces. Khan said he will concentrate housing development at higher densities around transport infrastructure to make the best use of space and connections.
Large infrastructure projects, such as Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo Line extensions, could lead to the development of hundreds of thousands of new homes.
Khan said is also reviewing plans for the two Mayoral Development Corporations, where he has more direct control of local planning, to make sure they deliver as many new and affordable homes as possible.
“I want to influence other public-sector bodies, for example central-government departments and Network Rail, to follow my example and help develop housing wherever possible,” he said.
In the document, the Mayor also reiterates his support for SME builders and the build to rent sector. “The industry is currently dominated by a small number of large developers – their contribution is vital and must be supported,” he said. “I also want to support smaller housebuilders and new development models such as build- to-rent, for example by using City Hall’s procurement power and introducing planning policies that promote smaller sites, particularly in suburban areas.
The importance of good development planning was also highlighted. “Mistakes have been made in the past when planning development in big cities, in cases where governments have myopically focused on one amenity without seeing the bigger picture,” Khan said.
“Examples include huge, mono-tenure housing estates that did not account for people’s broader needs, and big transport schemes built without housing developments around them,” he added. “It is important that history does not repeat itself – which is why ‘good growth’ is so important.
Housing featured heavily in the document, as Londoners regularly raise housing as their biggest concern – with only eight per cent of Londoners satisfied with housing in the city. Khan believes that a shortage of truly affordable homes is acting as a drag on the attractiveness of London as a place to live and work.
The document is now open to consultation, and the Mayor is calling on all Londoners to feed back their views on London’s future.
“Our economy is one of the strongest in the world, but the uncertainty following the EU referendum result has exacerbated existing threats to London’s competitiveness,” Khan said. “And for too many Londoners, the prosperity and wealth on their doorsteps is more remote and more inaccessible than ever before – especially an affordable and decent home.”