11/06/2015 13:52 BST | Updated 11/06/2016 06:59 BST

A Response for Kenny

This blog is a written response to Kenny Imafidon's recent HuffPost Young Voices blog, 'Open Letter to All Potential Mayoral Candidates (A Response Would Be Nice)', which can be read here

Dear Kenny,

You and I share a passion for this fantastic city we call home. We both love its vibrancy, its diversity, its history and its culture. There's nowhere else in the world I'd want to call home.

But like you, I'm also increasingly concerned that London isn't working for all Londoners. The average Londoner is now younger than the average for the UK as a whole, but the opportunities on offer to young Londoners haven't kept up with the pace of change in our city. Too many are being left behind as the city powers ahead. The numbers of young people being priced out of the city altogether, unable to find affordable housing or because they struggle to get to work because of spiraling tube and bus fares is nothing short of a tragedy.

It doesn't have to be this way. Having spoken to Londoners across our city, from Stoke Newington to Stratford, from Harrow to Hounslow, I know that when it comes to the future of our city, young Londoners have real questions.

Like the young families I met on the New Era estate in East London, seeing their neighbours forced to leave communities they've lived in for generations to make way for yet more luxury flats. Or the teenagers I've spent time with through organisations like Streets for Growth in Poplar, putting all their talents and energy into pursuing a future free from gang related violence. Many of the young Londoners I've met who've found themselves joining a line at one of the food banks springing up across London never imagined this is where they'd be in one of the richest cities on the planet.

Let no one tell you that young people aren't interested, or don't care. Young Londoners rightly want to know what their future is going to look like. They are are crying out to be listened to, to get involved, to be respected, not fobbed off, promised the earth or ignored.

That's why I want to work together with the eight million plus people that call our city home. This is a job for all of us. So I will need your help. Tackling these challenges we face, and giving Londoners of every age, gender, faith and race a voice on what the solutions must be is why I'm running to be Labour's candidate for next year's Mayoral election.

Our city is crying out for proper leadership, and a leader who both listens to what change communities across our city want to see, and works with them to make it happen. Take Boris - our current red carpet mayor. He may be a funny guy - but when it comes to the day-to-day challenges faced by millions of Londoners he doesn't appear to get it. What we need is an alternative deal for Londoners. We need to shake up the status quo and build a city where we can all share in our success.

Because, on the face of it, London is a fantastic success story. But spend a day walking around our streets and you'll see that hidden behind this is real inequality - with so much deprivation cheek by jowl with so much wealth. As Mayor, tackling inequality and creating opportunity would be a top priority, and I'll be the champion of efforts to tackle poverty in our communities.

Londoners need more and better jobs, with a London Living Wage paid by employers, and as Mayor I'd focus on increasing access to higher education, vocational training and apprenticeships across our city, matching the skills of young Londoners to what employers need.

When it comes to housing, it's pretty simple. We need to build more of the right kind of homes so that young people and families can afford to buy and rent - more council homes, a new living rent for Londoners and more affordable homes to buy. And, as Mayor of London, I'll fight for the power to limit rent rises.

We need a transport system that is efficient and affordable, so that young people can get from where they live to where they work or study.

This city needs a Mayor who will stand up for Londoners, because together we can take our city to places it otherwise could not go. It needs a Mayor who is a fighter, a proven winner and who has the energy our city needs and deserves. Kenny - I believe that Mayor is me.

Yours sincerely,


Sadiq Khan is the Labour MP for Tooting, and is seeking nomination to be Labour's London Mayoral candidate in 2016