From the top · 9 May 2016

What can London’s micro business owners expect from new mayor Sadiq Khan?

Sadiq Khan
Since his victory, Khan has redoubled his commitment to small business owners and entrepreneurs

Following the election of Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan on 7 May, Business Advice looked at the implications for small firm leaders.

Much of the new mayor’s a £17bn budget is likely to be spent on affordable housing – which could help small firm owners in the capital recruit staff who cannot currently afford to live in the city.

But Khan’s manifesto pledges also included a commitment to working with local authorities to stop the excessive conversion of commercial spaces into residential properties. He also promised to champion independent retailers and support communities working to maintain the feel of their high streets.

Since his victory, Khan has redoubled his commitment to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Writing in The Guardian on 7 May, he said: “Whether it’s aspiring to work as a nurse in a hospital, or setting up and running your own business, Labour should be about ensuring fairness, so that everyone has the same chance in life to reach their goals.”

In the days since the election, the mayor has also been seen to distance himself from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was not present at Khan’s inauguration ceremony at Southwark Cathedral on 8 May.

“So-called natural Labour voters alone will never be enough to win a general election,” Khan continued in his Guardian article, which has been seen as a thinly disguised attack on his party leader.

“We must be able to persuade people who previously voted Conservative that Labour can be trusted with the economy and security, as well as improving public services and creating a fairer society.”

Khan’s election was welcomed by Jace Tyrrell, CEO of the New West End Company, which represents large and small businesses based in the retail area around Oxford Circus.

“We are heartened by the fact that London has elected a pro-business mayor who is also committed to drastically improving air quality which is a key issue for our members, Londoners and tourists,” he said.

“As a longstanding friend of London’s West End, Khan will be all too aware of the upcoming challenges we face, including the up to 80 per rise in business rates for our retailers and opening of the Elizabeth Line in 2018.”

“It’s extremely positive to see that the new London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling for the introduction of a business advisory board with SME representatives to support small businesses and protect their business space,” added James Peck, UK head of recruitment platform Jobsandtalent.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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