Londoners want their next Mayor to focus on creating jobs as the capital continues to suffer high unemployment, according to a poll published today by the professional social network LinkedIn in conjunction with The Huffington Post.
35% felt that job creation was the most important factor in supporting London businesses, but among the under-30s that figure rose to 49% - an indication of the massive youth unemployment crisis facing the next Mayor.
The poll findings come as it’s revealed that Britain is back in recession, with recent figures showing that London has the second highest unemployment rate of any British region.
The poll also revealed that improvements to transport links and entrepreneurial support were of equal importance to voters, with each receiving 19% of the votes respectively. A further 14% of voters felt that crime and security should be the next mayor’s priority, whilst the remaining 12% believed infrastructure should be the focus of our next mayor’s efforts.
HuffPost put the poll findings to the candidates and asked them - what will they do about London's jobs crisis?
Current Mayor and Tory candidate Boris Johnson told us: "We're making the case now to central government for more funding. I'm making the argument to the Treasury that a pound spent in Croydon is far more of value to the country than a pound spent in Strathclyde. You will generate jobs in Strathclyde far more effectively if you invest in parts of London. There's amazing opportunity to take London forward, but I don't want to go back to the tired-out policies of the past. We want to keep going with our apprenticeships scheme, to expand it and recruit more businesses into that scheme. They will get great value for money from their apprentices."
His main rival Ken Livingstone told us he'd focus on job creation through housebuilding: "Two thirds of all the jobs lost in London are in construction. I'm going to start a house-building programme, accessing pension funds, aimed at building at least 35,000 homes a year, hopefully 50,000 a year in a decade.”
Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, told us: "We want to not only encourage existing lenders to lend to small and medium sized enterprises, but also to have a fund set up by the Mayor to lend, for example, to young people who have great business plans but no track record."
Londoners go to the polls next Thursday, 3rd of May, to elect a Mayor plus members of the London Assembly. Current polling suggests Boris Johnson has a small lead of two points over Ken Livingstone - within the pollsters' margin of error. The race, in effect is too close to call.
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