Sadiq Vs Tessa: How Do They Compare?

By Londonist Last edited 37 months ago
Sadiq Vs Tessa: How Do They Compare?
Tessa Jowell earlier this year, announcing that she's running for Mayor. Photo by Andy Thornley in the Londonist Flickr pool

Sadiq Khan and Tessa Jowell appear to be neck-and-neck in the running to be Labour's candidate for the London Mayoral elections next year. But how do their policies compare? Kat Hanna, research manager at the Centre for London, takes a look.

This time tomorrow Labour’s candidate for London Mayor will be confirmed. While it is Corbynmania which has been grabbing the headlines, Centre for London has focused its attention on the Mayoral race. From the first full Labour candidate hustings held back in June, the candidates spent the summer canvassing and campaigning. But it's been a race that has been largely unremarkable, save from Sadiq Khan’s U-turn on airport expansion and recurring accusations of policy poaching, though of course imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Polls and odds indicate that the final run-off is more or less a dead heat between Sadiq Khan and Tessa Jowell. When it comes to policy, the two are equally close, with a handful of meaningful policy differences between them. In order to save Londoners the trouble, we've set out their policies alongside one another in the table below. It is by no means exhaustive — the candidates having put out press releases on a near daily basis over the summer — but covers a range of main policy areas including housing, transport and the environment.

There a few observations to be made here.

Both sets of policies are strikingly similar, especially where housing is concerned. One may suggest that both candidates have sought to address as wide an electoral base as possible, making the right noises about foreign buyers and rent caps at a time where the party appears to be veering leftwards.

If there is a defining issue to separate the two candidates it is airport expansion. Khan, who backed Heathrow expansion while transport minister, came out AGAINST a third runway at Heathrow in June, expressing a strong preference for expansion at Gatwick. While Jowell has not been unequivocal in her support for expanding Heathrow, that she has not campaigned against the idea of a third Heathrow runway is significant. But let us not forget that while airport expansion has proved to be one of the most contentious issues of the campaign, it is one of the policy areas where the Mayor has the least power to intervene. There is a more nuanced difference in the candidates’ stance on the London Living Wage, with Jowell clearly prioritising a statutory London Minimum Wage rather than the voluntary Living Wage.

While the frontrunners’ policies are close in content, there are areas where Jowell’s policies appear further developed. She has produced a series of 'mini-manifestos', covering issues including cycling, women and apprenticeships, setting out proposed initiatives in more detail. It could be that declaring earlier in the Mayoral race and having stood down as an MP, has allowed her greater time to formulate policy positions and flagship initiatives.

Labour Londoners may have found themselves voting based on the content of character as much as the content of manifestos. This is perhaps unsurprising given personality politics of previous Mayoral elections. With Zac Goldsmith himself somewhat a London political celebrity — and likely to win the Conservative nomination — the 2016 election looks set to be a battle of the big names, whoever triumphs tomorrow.

Policy Area Tessa Jowell Sadiq Khan
Renting Compulsory landlord registration. Campaign for power to regulate PRS so that tenants have the right to a three-year contract where prices rise by no more than the consumer price index in any given year. Prioritise Build to Rent developments Lobby for power to introduce rent caps, London Living Rent, and a London-wide not-for-profit letting agency
Housing delivery Homes for Londoners delivery agency at City Hall. Target of 2,000 homes per year for 20 years. Better use of TfL land Set up a team which will report directly to Khan. It will act as a developer, drive the building of new homes for social rent, London Living Rent and first-time buyers, and will also help councils develop their own new homes teams and bring forward land and investment for building. Bring forward land from public bodies and boroughs
Housing affordability Expansion of Rent to Buy Introduce a 50% affordable housing target for any new development
Foreign buyers Tackle 'buy-to-leave' with a tax penalty for those who leave houses unoccupied for six months or more Use mayoral planning powers to stop 'buy-to-leave' and put first-time buyers and local tenants first
Investment in housing Encourage institutional investment in PRS Use of bonds for social homes, institutional investment and greater borrowing for councils
Public transport and fares Freeze on fares for the first year. One hour bus tickets. Supports 24 -our tubes but states need for better negotiation, “One zone weekends” Freeze on fares for four years. One hour bus tickets, Supports 24 hour tubes but states need for better negotiation
London Living Wage (LLW) Called for London Minimum Wage. All Greater London Authority (GLA) contracts for LLW employers only All GLA contracts for LLW employers only, recognise and reward those who pay the LLW. Lobby for power to introduce minimum wage
Crime and policing Body-worn cameras for front-line officers Charter for victims of sexual assault. NB. Crime and policing doesn’t feature on Khan's website
Apprenticeships and skills One London apprenticeships – funded through skills levy and focusing on growth sectors. Dedicated tech stream, with 50% of participants female Use procurement to promote apprenticeships for young people. Call for devolution of all skills and FE funding
Childcare/early years Use £61m Olympic precept to fund Sure Start, encourage employers and boroughs to provide 24-hour childcare Raised cost as issue, no real policies beyond more support from business and ensuring Sure Start centres stay open
Air quality Extension of road charging. Emission free buses by 2020. Air pollution monitors at buggy height. Ensure that all schools offer cycling proficiency courses. Accelerate Better Junctions programme and push for driver vision cabs in HGVs Expand ULEZ and support cycling
Airport expansion Has not expressed a preference but is open to principle of expansion No to Heathrow, yes to second runway at Gatwick
Oxford Street Pedestrianise it Pedestrianise it
Other Banning of sexist adverts on London underground Introduce a quota system for BAME police officers

Last Updated 11 September 2015