If you’re paying attention to the mayoral race you probably already know a little about where the candidates stand on crime and bendy buses. But what candidate will be best for your bank account?
To help you answer that question, we’ve put together a quick economic summary of the big-party candidates:
We already have a pretty good idea of what the incumbent will do in this area — more of the same. Ken’s third-term proposals centre on three big projects: Crossrail, the Olympics, and Thames Gateway regeneration. He’s also underscored his commitment to the 50% affordable-housing quota, and looks to continue his perpetual transport revolution, with £25 congestion charge for gas guzzlers, free travel for older and disabled Londoners, and extensions on student discounts and free passes for the kids. And while we're at it, we have to take a bit of air out of Ken's boast that he made London the world’s pre-eminent financial capital. He has been friendly to the City, but most of the credit has to go to the American Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and some careful steering by Gordon Brown and the Bank of England closer to home.
Winners: Homebuyers looking at the Thames Gateway; the young and the old.
Losers: Gaz-guzzlers; businesses that will have to ante up for Crossrail.
Boris’ economic proposals are an extension of the man himself — attention-grabbing but fuzzy round the edges. A section on his website devoted to housing has about as much on what he won’t do (bully developers, keep the 50% quota, build high-rises) than what he will do (family homes, protect nice views). It’s a somewhat risky strategy — if property developers failed to solve London’s housing affordability problems during boom times, will giving them more leeway really help during the dark times ahead? Motorists have cause for cheer — Boris will try to get traffic moving and ditch Ken’s £25 supercharge. And he wants to take on the transport unions to stop strike threats.
Winners: property developers, drivers, families in houses with nice views
Losers: public-sector unions, people looking for a leg up onto the property ladder
Leave it to the guy who has the least chance of getting elected to have the most interesting proposals. When it comes to housing, the Lib Dem candidate wants to scoop up brownfield sites and put vacant property to good use. In transport, Paddick wants ‘timed’ travelcards, so that you don’t have to pay again if you have to ride two or three buses to get to your destination. He also wants to adjust the congestion charge to eliminate the westward extension — he says the 90% residents’ discount is encouraging people in Kensington and Chelsea into their cars — and wants Transport for London to look into a £10 charge for people coming into the huge Low Emission Zone, to discourage driving in from the exurbs.
Winners: frequent bus riders, adventurous first-time homeowners
Losers: Commuters driving in from the ‘burbs, or from Chelsea
By MikeW. Image from Andi Smith's Flickr photostream.