Published 30 March 2021
With the London mayoral elections in May, our founder Adam Hyman speaks to Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey on one of the most important factors affecting the health of hospitality in London – the congestion charge.
Yes — on day one.
Let’s be clear. No one forced the Mayor to raise the congestion charge. No one forced him to extend it past 6.00pm and at weekends. Sadiq Khan choose to do it because he racked up £9.56 billion of wasteful spending over the last five years at TfL — and he needed someone to pay for it.
I fully understand how damaging these changes made by Sadiq Khan are to the hospitality industry, so on day one, I’ll reverse the congestion charge hike and revert to the original timings – allowing your customers to easily drive into Central London in the evenings and at weekends.
And I’ll restore order to TfL’s finances by introducing corporate sponsorship to the tube, just like Santander sponsor our bike-hire scheme. This will raise revenue without costing Londoners a penny.
I agree that London’s hospitality industry should be represented in government. But in some ways we already have a hospitality minister: it’s called the Mayor of London.
Unfortunately, over the last five years Sadiq Khan has shown he’d rather attack the government than work with ministers to get a good deal for the hospitality industry. That’s why we need a fresh start.
I’ll work with ministers to secure a better deal for the hospitality industry in London. I’ll also appoint a Hospitality Czar to champion the industry as we recover from the pandemic. That way, we’ve got two powerful roles making the case to government for more support.
There is a balance that needs to be struck. On the one hand, I do want to make London a truly 24-hour city. On the other hand, we need to take sensible decisions as we reopen the city.
I am not ruling out making the case for extended licences and new opening hours. But my first priority is keeping Londoners safe and getting our economy moving.
I think we need to start with a domestic campaign. With foreign holidays likely to be off the table this year, we should encourage fellow Brits to come and see London this summer.
But for that to happen, we need to keep costs down. So that means reversing the congestion charge hike and scrapping plans to extend ULEZ. It also means scrapping Sadiq Khan’s plans for a £5.50 charge to drive into Greater London.
And yes, when the science is clear that it’s safe to admit tourists, we will need to launch an international campaign to bring those tourists to London.
We’ve got everything going for us. We’re a global city. We’ve got the mother of parliaments, Buckingham Palace, fantastic parks and the best shops in the world. None of this is going away any time soon. I will look at ways we can allocate funding to this once in office.
I want to make sure every Londoner, no matter where they are in life, has the chance to improve their skills.
So I’ll support catering colleges in London through the Adult Education Budget, helping to train the next generation of London’s chefs and caterers.
That’s a tough one. I have to say I really love Jamaica Patty in Covent Garden. I’m the grandson of a Jamaican immigrant, so part of the reason I love it is because it keeps me in touch with my roots. But even if you don’t have Jamaican heritage, give it a go! The food is excellent.
I will always support innovative companies like Deliveroo. They’re part of the fabric of our city. The fact that you’re a few clicks away from a meal is one of the attractions of London life.