London mayoral elections 2016

Passing bus and Big Ben in foreground

With the London mayoral elections taking place on 5 May, we’ve taken a look through the manifestos and summarised what each potential mayor has to say about health and care, and about public sector workers.

London life for NHS workers

Ahead of the manifestos being published, NHS Employers released an infographic, London life for NHS workers, which highlighted the changes to salaries, transport and housing costs that have led to the dramatic rise in the number of NHS staff being unable to stay in the city. NHS Employers called for the candidates to include in their manifestos a commitment to making London a feasible home for NHS staff, by reviewing transport costs and prioritising key-worker housing. 

The manifestos

Labour – Sadiq Khan

  • A pledge to build new homes on land owned by the mayor, including Transport for London land, and bidding to develop other public sector land, with a proportion of homes on the capital’s NHS sites aimed at health service workers. 
  • A pledge to ‘work with the NHS and the London Ambulance Service to help improve staff retention and recruitment,’ and a commitment to ‘move towards parity of esteem between physical and mental health illness.’
  • The manifesto also recognises that the ‘high cost of living and shortage of affordable homes means many hospitals are struggling to recruit and retain health workers.’ 
Read Sadiq Khan’s full manifesto.

Conservative - Zac Goldsmith

  • A pledge to lobby government for an annual target for the amount of public sector land for development of extra housing for Londoners. He will also ask for a new duty to be placed on public sector bodies to keep a register of all the land they own and keep that register up to date. Instead of selling off public sector land to the highest bidder, he will insist that the Mayor, NHS and the MoD retain a ‘London share’ in each development.  
  • A recognition that ‘…nurses…are struggling to rent, let alone buy,’ in London. He will ask all London councils to conduct full reviews of the proportion of homes available to middle and low income Londoners in their respective boroughs. 
  • With regard to mental health, he will ask the Metropolitan Police for reports of all victims and offenders they encounter with diagnosable mental health issues. He will then work with the police and NHS London to bring the number down and will publish an annual report setting out progress. He will also ensure that the Met extends its current Nurses on Patrol programme, which provides officers with 24-hour support from mental health professionals. He will work with NHS London and the Department of Health to get the number of people with mental health conditions detained in police cells down to zero by ensuring adequate provision of 24/7 mental health beds across London.
Read Zac Goldsmith’s full manifesto.

Liberal Democrats – Caroline Pidgeon

  • A pledge to introduce a workplace parking levy in central London. Employers in central London and Canary Wharf will pay a levy of £3,000 per annum for each parking place they provide to their employees, with exemptions for categories such as Blue Badge holders and emergency services. Learning lessons from schemes in cities like Nottingham, this will deter large employers from providing perks for non-essential staff. Employers who develop effective travel-to-work plans for all employees will gain a rebate. Essential workers will be exempt, including NHS staff and ambulance crews.
  • A pledge to continue to press for the Greater London Authority (GLA) to have additional powers to promote health in London, monitor performance in NHS hospitals and involve Londoners in the decision-making process as London’s hospital and medical centres are reconfigured to ensure a 21st century NHS. Also press the government for the Mayor to have responsibility for the ambulance service as the GLA has for other emergency services.
  • A commitment to better mental health services for young people and to recognise the health needs of London’s LGBT population by promoting specialist support services tailored to their needs, including greater investment in mental health services. 
Read Caroline Pidgeon’s full manifesto

Green Party – Sian Berry 

  • A pledge to set up a homelessness board in City Hall, bringing in public services such as the NHS, London Councils, the Metropolitan Police and specialist services to ensure a more joined-up approach is offered for pathways out of homelessness, particularly for those with multiple needs. 
  • Ensure housing policies form part of an integrated London strategy for improved mental health.
  • Introduce a clear strategy for identifying areas of underrepresented talent and actively promote women and BME officers. Strategies similar to the successful NHS Race Equality Standard will be adopted. 
  • A request that the mayor and London Assembly have a direct say over the NHS. 
Read Sian Berry’s full manifesto.

UKIP – Peter Whittle

  • A pledge that local people stuck on social housing waiting lists will benefit from UKIP’s local homes for local people principle. UKIP will encourage London borough councils and registered social landlords to prioritise people with strong local connections when they make social housing allocations. A ‘strong local connection’ is defined by the party as someone who has lived in London for at least five years before being given social housing.
  • UKIP wants to strengthen the connections between the Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance, and London’s Fire Brigade by adopting the French Sapeurs-Pompiers system and having one combined emergency service. This would involve cross-training firemen as ambulance drivers and paramedics. UKIP suggests this model would ease the burden on conventional ambulance services and give fire professionals an important role during otherwise quiet periods. Achieving this goal will be a target set for the Mayor’s new London Fire Commissioner.

Read Peter Whittle’s full manifesto.

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