Restoring opportunities for all Londonders

Restoring opportunities for all Londonders

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Thank you Doreen for that kind introduction.


Doreen, I am proud to call you a friend and a true inspiration.


You embody the progress our city has made over recent decades.


And in fact you have been involved in making many of those changes happen.




You’ve spent a lifetime challenging injustice and inequality. And increasing opportunities for young Londoners through the Stephen Lawrence Foundation.


It feels like a lifetime ago that we first met when I was a young lawyer.


I’m so proud to have you here today.


And grateful to have your support to be the next Mayor of London.


Thank you.




It’s fitting that Doreen is here today as I set out my plans to increase opportunities for all Londoners.


It’s something that Doreen knows more about than most.


I grew up on a council estate in South London.


It meant my family had a secure and affordable home.


It gave my parents the chance to save their hard earned money.


My Dad’s wages from his job as a bus driver – and what my Mum was able to put aside from making clothes.


They knew that their hard work would be rewarded.


And it was.


Eventually we moved from our council home – into a house my parents were able to buy.


It was a dream come true after years of hard work.


It was a dream.


But it was achievable.




My brothers, my sister and I inherited my parents’ work ethic.


They were always ambitious for us.


With a helping hand we were able to fulfil their ambitions.


We had the guidance of wonderful teachers at a fantastic local state school.


Teachers like Naz Bokhari, my inspirational headmaster – who was the first British Asian to run a secondary school in the UK.


And teachers like Mr Browne my maths teacher, who, after putting up with my lip asked me: 


“Since you seem to like arguing so much, why don’t you become a lawyer?”


So I did.


I went on to study law, right here at this university. 


Five of my brothers and my sister also went to university.


While another brother got a good quality apprenticeship as a mechanic – and he’s now the most successful of the lot of us.




Growing up on a council estate we didn’t have many luxuries.


But for my parents that never meant we should lower our expectations.


We were part of a strong local community, with supportive friends and neighbours.


Londoners living side by side - not just tolerating each other but respecting one another.


And thanks to London – to the helping hand that our society, schools and community gave us - we were able to fulfil our potential.




I know from my own experience that ambition alone is not enough.


Without opportunities and a helping hand ambition is just a pipe dream.


And I worry for the young Londoners of today.


Does a young child growing up on the Henry Prince Estate – or studying at this university – have the same opportunities that I did?


They are less likely to get a place at a local school of their choice.


If they go to university they will leave with tens of thousands of pounds of debt - and no guarantee of a well-paid job afterwards.


And if they choose a different path they have to compete for far too few decent apprenticeships.


It is much harder for them today than it was for me.


And as a dad it pains me to say this.


But my daughters – and all young Londoners – are far less likely to be able to stay in London.


However hard they work at school and whatever they go on to do.


If things don’t change – the dream of home ownership in the city they call home will remain a dream.


They face a lifetime of renting - paying more than half their income - with no guarantee of security or quality.




But it doesn’t have to be this way.


It’s not an inevitable consequence of our city’s success and growth.


It’s happened because the Tories have made the wrong choices.


Because we have a Tory Mayor and a Tory Government who have chosen not to build homes that Londoners can actually afford.


Because the Tories have failed to ensure that all young people have access to the skills they need.


Because they’ve cut funding for building new schools.


Because there are too few apprenticeships.


And because they’ve put too little emphasis on STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and maths.


Londoners need us to make different choices – and some big changes.




So here’s what I’ll do.


I’ll set up Skills for Londoners - a new partnership between business, educators and local authorities.


It will be dedicated to training young Londoners in the skills they need to succeed.


Skills that will allow young Londoners of today to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.


Skills like tech, engineering, low carbon manufacturing, life sciences, hospitality....


We will seek out the neighbourhoods where help is most desperately needed.


Where long-term unemployment is rife.


And we will give those kids the skills they need.


We’ll boost mentoring schemes to provide access to role models.


We’ll challenge the under representation of women in tech and engineering.


And we’ll ensure that all children in London get access to proper careers advice about the opportunities that are available to them.




On education, London faces a growing school places shortage - and the Government keep making it worse with cuts to funding.


As Mayor I’ll take a lead on education.


I’ll provide real leadership and city-wide co-ordination for our schools.


Families in London want to know their children will get a place in a good local school – and as Mayor I’ll address this.




The absolute key to creating opportunities is supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs to succeed.


London has always been a hotbed of innovation.


But we need to help entrepreneurs turn their creativity into growth, jobs and opportunities.


And as Mayor I will.


I’ll create more start-up spaces and live-work units that are actually affordable.


Entrepreneurs and small business owners will be represented on my Business Advisory Board.


They will be appointed for their understanding of business – not for their politics.


Before entering politics I helped run my own business – so I’ve been there and know the challenges.


So my promise to London’s small business leaders is this:


As Mayor I will always be on your side.




Of course there is another crucial aspect to increasing opportunity.


And that is ensuring that work pays.


There are hundreds of thousands of Londoners who are working hard – just like my parents did - but not getting a fair days pay for a fair days work.


700,000 Londoners are paid less than the London Living Wage.


It’s tough to stay ambitious if you’re working hard but still can’t pay the rent.


Or when you work hard but still rely on food banks to feed your children.


How can we expect children to grow up thinking that work is the best route out of poverty, if that’s not what they’ve seen?


Londoners need a Mayor who will fight for a real Living Wage for all Londoners.


A Mayor who will stand up against those who exploit working Londoners – whether denying them tips that they have worked hard to earn, forcing them to work on zero hour contracts or denying them their workplace rights.


As Mayor I will put economic and social justice at the very heart of City Hall.




Throughout my campaign I have set out a positive vision for the future of our city.


A positive vision that is all about ensuring that all Londoners get the opportunities that our city gave to me.


As Doreen said earlier, there is a clear choice facing Londoners at this election.


A choice between the politics of division and fear that has defined the Tory campaign.


Or the politics of unity, hope and opportunity that has defined mine.


The Tory view of politics is all about division and fear.


But this is London and I know that it will not succeed.




There is one reason why I decided to run for Mayor.


I want all Londoners to have the opportunities that our city gave to me.


Whether they are the son of a bus driver or the daughter of a chief executive.


Wherever they live, wherever their families come from, whatever faith they practice, if any.


All Londoners should have the same opportunities.


Every child should know that they can achieve anything if they work hard.


I will be the Mayor who restores opportunity in our city.


A Mayor for all Londoners.

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