Sadiq Khan launches ‘London growth plan’ for 150,000 jobs - but isn't counting on his own one

A Labour Government would “reset” the relationship with London and support plans to create 150,000 high-quality new jobs, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said on Wednesday.

She joined Mayor Sadiq Khan on a visit to the Francis Crick Institute at King’s Cross as he launched a “London growth plan” to deliver the extra jobs by the end of an anticipated third term of office.

These jobs would be in established sectors such as finance, retail and hospitality – with new opportunities sought in health and life sciences and fintech.

Asked if he had included his own job as mayor in the total, Mr Khan told the Standard: “No I haven’t. It’s 150,000 +1.

“But it’s not a new job. The key thing I’m trying to do over the next 30-odd days is to convince Londoners to give me their vote, because the alternative is a hard-Right Tory mayor.

“I would hope Londoners, particularly those progressives who in the past have given me their second preference – those Green voters, those Lib-Dem voters – understand that the voting system has changed. If you vote Green or Lib-Dem, it’s one less [needed] for the Tory to win.”

Asked if he was genuinely worried about having to look for a new job on May 3, Mr Khan said: “One of the joys of a democracy is that people get to choose every four years who their mayor is going to be.

“History is littered with examples of arrogant, complacent politicians. I ain’t one of those.”

London’s unemployment rate is at a historical low of 3.8 per cent – identical to the UK figure.

The number of Londoners in employment rose in the last three months of 2023 to 4.8 million, up a “significant” 3.5 per cent and “significantly exceeded” the 0.3 per cent UK-wide rise, according to City Hall’s own economic analysis.

Ms Reeves said a Labour Government would “put an end to the Tory government’s damaging and counterproductive approach of talking London down and not valuing the vital contribution it makes to our national economy”.

She said: “We will put an end to the Tory government’s damaging and counterproductive approach of talking London down and not valuing the vital contribution it makes to our national economy.”

Asked if she feared Mr Khan might not win back the job of mayor, despite numerous polls putting him well ahead of Tory rival Susan Hall, she said: “I know Sadiq is fighting for every single vote.

“There are changes to the voting system this year in London, so it will be a first-past-the-post system, and of course there are changes to needing ID at polling stations.

“We recognise that we have an uphill struggle. Kier [Starmer, the Labour leader] and Sadiq are working together to make sure people are aware of these changes.

“No votes have been cast yet. Polls are just a snapshot in time. We take absolutely nothing for granted, and will fight for every single vote.”

London contributes about £40bn a year net to the public purse.

Mr Khan, who has long raised concerns that the Government’s “levelling up” agenda harms London, believes a “better Brexit” deal would boost the capital’s economy.

He claims that his programmes have created more than 330,000 jobs since he was first elected in 2016.

Office for National Statistics figures showed that about 76,000 businesses started in London in 2022 but a similar number closed.

Mr Khan promised to “focus on levelling up within London”.

He said: “London has so much more potential that can be untapped – not only for the benefit of our capital city, but the whole country.

“We have a huge opportunity ahead – with the possibility this year of a pro-growth, pro-business Labour Mayor and Labour government working hand-in-hand for the first time in a generation.”

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall: "Sadiq Khan's jobs claims are nothing but sketchy projections, and completely ignores the jobs and businesses he destroyed with his disastrous Ulez expansion and his failure to support our night economy.

“For London to succeed, we need a mayor who listens. I will make our streets safe, scrap the Ulez expansion on day one, and build more family homes that people can afford, because those are the issues that are holding London's economy back."