None of us have been untouched by the effects of the pandemic. But I’m immensely proud of how our city has pulled together. I’m proud of the sacrifices made by our heroic NHS and key workers to save lives and keep things moving, and I am proud of each and every person who did their bit to keep others safe.
With the Covid-19 vaccines being administered at an extraordinary pace, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is finally reason to hope.
So now is the time to look to the future and plan to build an even better London – a fairer, safer and greener capital, where life is better for all. And it’s this better future that’s on the ballot paper of the mayoral election on 6 May.
I grew up in a London shaped by the great 1945 Labour Government, which rebuilt Britain from the ashes of the Second World War. The leaders of that Labour Government understood that our country owed it to those who had endured and sacrificed so much to build a better nation.
That London, which was revived after the war, gave me the opportunities I needed to go from being a hopeful kid living on a council estate to becoming a human rights lawyer, helping to run my own business. And then from being elected a Member of Parliament for my local community in South London, to the Mayor of the greatest city on earth.
It’s my personal mission to ensure all Londoners can access the same opportunities that our city gave me, to fulfil their own potential.
Just like that Labour Government did in 1945, I am convinced we can build an even better London after this crisis, where no one is left behind.
So my relentless focus in a second term will be on jobs, jobs jobs. I will support our amazing businesses to create thousands of well-paid jobs, replacing the more than 300,000 that we have lost.
I will use every lever at my disposal as Mayor to support those already in work and help those who have lost their jobs to retrain, skill up and find work. I will invest an extra £5million to help attract people back to central London.
And I will relentlessly bang the drum for our city – both at home and abroad – for jobs, tourism and investment into the capital.
I also pledge not only to maximise City Hall expenditure to help retain and create jobs, but to transform the support we provide to London’s small businesses – the lifeblood of our local highstreets and economies.
We have all come to appreciate nature and our green spaces more during lockdown, but we are facing a climate emergency.
Over the last five years, we have made huge progress – reducing air pollution by more than a third and delivering a five-fold increase in the length of protected cycle lanes. But there’s much more we must do.
So I’ll continue to take world-leading action to protect and improve our green spaces, clean up our toxic air and tackle the climate emergency.
As we rebuild our city, we must also tackle the stark inequalities that made it possible for Britain to suffer so badly from the Covid-19 crisis in the first place.
A key part of this will be to build thousands of new council homes. In my first term, we have laid the foundations, starting to build more of these homes in 2019-2020 than in any year since 1983, but this is just the start.
I’ll also campaign for the introduction of rent controls, fight to reduce the cost of living in London and push for the stronger safety nets that we so desperately need.
As a dad to two young Londoners, I worry about crime beginning to rise again once lockdown is lifted. That’s why I will continue to be both tough on crime and tough on its causes.
Despite the Conservatives making huge cuts to the Met’s policing budget, I’ve put over a thousand more police officers on the capital’s streets since I was elected – and I’ll continue to add more.
Just as importantly, while Government cuts to local councils have meant youth clubs closing down, I’ll continue to invest in providing constructive things for young Londoners to do, diverting them away from crime and building on the £70million I’ve already invested in young people.
Finally, I will always stand up for London’s values. Our commitment to equality, diversity and respect for one another has shone throughout this crisis. I’ve never shied away from defending these values as Mayor – whether against Brexit, Donald Trump or Boris Johnson – and I won’t start now.
The Mayoral election on 6 May is a two-horse race between me and the Tory candidate, who I believe simply doesn’t share London’s values. A vote for any other candidate would just make it more likely that the Conservatives win, which would put the better future in the city we all deserve at grave risk.
We know the Conservatives aren’t interested in keeping the capital open to the world. We know they want a race to the bottom on pay and working conditions. We know they will cut funding for our public services again as soon as they can.
And we know their candidate doesn’t share London’s values when it comes to telling the truth, celebrating our diversity or standing up for women’s rights.
Ultimately, this election is about building the better London we owe our key workers and that we all deserve after the pandemic – a fairer, greener and safer city, where our values are protected and celebrated.
I’m asking all Londoners to vote for that better London on 6 May.
Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.