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So you want to be mayor of London?

03 June 2004
So you want to be mayor of London?

The Five Key Questions

  • The congestion zone is hurting hospitality businesses in Westminster. What are your plans for the scheme?

  • Should smoking in bars and restaurants in London be banned?

  • Many London businesses thrive on tourists - how would you make London a safe place to visit and do business in?

  • Tourists and staff need to travel across London - what's the most important element of your transport policy?

  • London needs lots of hotel rooms to make its bid for the 2012 Olympics viable. How would you help that to happen and support the bid?

Simon Hughes

Congestion charge
Reduce congestion charging hours to 5pm and extend the 10pm deadline for paying the charge to midnight the following day, and make it easier to pay in advance. Hughes wants to reverse Ken Livingstone's plan to double the size of the zone, but has no plans to scrap the scheme.

Smoking Hughes wants Londoners to give up, but he doesn't want a nanny-state approach. He hopes market forces and employee power might yet ensure smoke-free workplaces.

Safer London Hughes would introduce "London Welcome Staff" at major London airports and railway stations to provide a positive experience for first-time visitors and give free advice and information. Every community would have four police and four community support officers dedicated to their area who could be removed only in extreme cases. He would also introduce a 10-point antiterrorism plan to prevent an attack on the capital.

Transport The tube would run until 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and congestion charging would end at 5pm. There would also be "early bird" tube fares with a 15% discount for those who travel to or from work before 7.30am and he would do more to encourage walking and cycling.

Hughes says he wants to introduce a modern global positioning system on all buses to provide accurate real time arrival information and he would fight to gain funding for the Crossrail and the East London Line extension projects.

Olympics bid Hughes says he would use his strategic planning powers to make sure London has plenty of hotel rooms to make the bid successful. But he's wary of creating another Dome and says that every new building should have an after-use pre-planned.

Steve Norris

Congestion charge Scrap the congestion charge, reverse plans for an extension of the zone and grant an amnesty for all outstanding fines and charges.

Smoking Norris says he avoids smoke-filled places, but contrary to what's been in the papers he doesn't favour an outright ban on smoking in public places. He believes it's up to individual pub, bar and restaurant owners.

Safer London Norris wants a "zero tolerance" approach to vandalism, graffiti, yobbish behaviour, and commercial crime, in the manner of Mayor Giuliani's campaign in New York. He also wants to enhance London's reputation for international business by hosting an annual business conference to attract inward investment. And he would use London Development Agency funds to provide skills and language training for London's unemployed and promises substantially more affordable housing.

Transport Norris says his comprehensive transport strategy would get London moving. It includes running the tube until 3am on weekends with guards on all trains past 10pm, and installing air conditioning in stations. He would also offer free school buses for primary schoolchildren and charge utility companies for roadworks. Among other initiatives, Norris says he would audit the existing bus service and encourage more walking and cycling. On the roads, he would consult on limiting lorry access in the central zone during rush hour, as well as using traffic-flow models to rephase the city's traffic lights and camera technology to ensure that cars stay out of yellow box junctions and bus lanes. He also plans to get the Crossrail project off the ground.

Olympics bid Norris reckons the best way he can support the bid is to concentrate on improving London's public transport systems as well as reducing levels of crime, but he adds that he doesn't want London's taxpayers to foot all the bill.

Ken Livingstone

Livingstone apologised to Caterer readers, but his busy schedule meant he didn't have time to reply to our questions. The current mayor launched his manifesto on Tuesday (1 June).

Other candidates include Lindsey German, Respect - the Unity Coalition
Julian Leppert, British National Party
Frank Maloney, UK Independence Party
Ram Gidoomal, Christian Peoples Alliance
Darren Johnson, Green Party
Dr Tammy Nagalingam, independent
Lorna Reid, Independent Working Class Association

For more information, see www.londonelects.org.uk.

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