I'm Kam and I’m proud to be Renew’s candidate for London mayor. I love this city, and it's where I've made my home and built my life. As I wasn't born here, I look at the city with fresh eyes. My background plays a part in who I am too. Growing up I witnessed the horrors of conflict, war and social division. It gave me a passion to work for a better world and the place to begin is right here in London, one of the world's greatest cities. I want to heal social divisions and make London one of the best places in the world to build your life, whatever your background. The old economic model simply doesn’t work anymore. It is time to start the New Economy that will benefit to all the Londoners.
I've visited every borough across the city, and I've been inspired by so many of the people I've met. I've met people who are working hard to make a difference, often in very difficult circumstances. There is too much of a gap between those who are doing very well and those who are being left behind. Some of the problems I encountered are particular to different neighbourhoods, some are city-wide, but all are rooted in the same problem. Too many of our fellow Londoners are struggling economically. The New Economy could change this, and the Mayor could play a crucial role in starting this in London. I firmly believe that London can only be a successful city when everyone has enough income to live a decent life. No One should be left behind and everyone should be doing well.
It's one thing to identify the problem, another to find a solution, and I believe my radical plan can transform lives in the city for all of its residents. My New Economy plan is all about building a city that works for its residents, not the other way round. The Covid-19 pandemic has given us all cause to reassess how we live our lives, with our working lives, in particular, coming into sharper focus. Universal Basic Income (UBI) is an idea whose time has come. Cities around the world are already trialling it as a way to give everyone a real stake in society. London should be leading the discussion about rolling out a universal basic income for all who needs it. Mayor of London should be collaborating with 10 Downing street in order to make it happen.
It's getting harder to buy your first home in London, so we will offer bigger discounts for first-time buyers and look at ways we can make getting on the property ladder easier. Every senior citizen should receive free travel across London, and public transport for everyone should be made more affordable. I will be doing everything possible in order to make housing really affordable and travel as cheap as possible.
For too many people who live here, London doesn't feel like a safe city in which to live. By improving the social infrastructure and economic wellbeing of everyone, I believe we will begin to reduce levels of crime in the city. We will recruit more police and place an emphasis on neighbourhood and community policing so everyone can feel safe where they live. More provision needs to be made for young people, with new youth clubs and facilities getting them off the streets and into worthwhile activities.
Your daily experience of living in London can be very different depending on where you live. While some neighbourhoods and boroughs have excellent public transport links, safe streets and good provision for young people and other groups, other areas are struggling. Many of our communities are isolated and detached. This can make it difficult for people on lower incomes to access decent employment, training or support. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on existing inequalities. In some parts of the city, people had no choice but to crowd onto tubes and buses to commute to low-paid zero-hours jobs. As a result, the infection and mortality rate in some parts of the city has been much higher than in others. Once the pandemic comes to an end these shocking inequalities must be addressed. When the pandemic is over, emphasis must be placed on addressing the huge inequalities in our cities. We do this by building vibrant and resilient neighbourhoods. We have a once in a generation chance to reshape where we live, so it's time to be bold and ambitious. At the heart of my strategy for our neighbourhoods is his 15-minute plan. In practical terms this means that residents of every borough will have easy access to everything that they need, from public transport to GP provision, schools, playgrounds and youth clubs, all within 15 minutes accessible travel from where they live.
I recognize that there's a hunger for real change. Too many Londoners feel undervalued, living in unsafe neighbourhoods and frustrated at the way that Brexit and the pandemic have been handled by the Mayor. However, we will change this together. I want to transform the London’s economy, to make sure that it works for everyone. A vote for me is a vote for a different kind of future for your city. It will be a London where everyone has a stake, small businesses are supported, where job and neighbourhood security will be advanced. It will be a green city, with our precious open spaces protected and expanded, and Thames biodiversity is treated like the precious asset it is. Together we can change London for better and we will!
London has one of the most dynamic city economies on the planet. Huge global names are based here, and multinational companies employ thousands. While some of the big names might grab the headlines, the real engine of the city economy is in fact the thousands of small businesses that innovate, create employment and grow wealth. They are the pioneers, risk-takers and community assets that help to make the capital such a vibrant place to live and work.
What is a small business?
According to Companies House, a small business is an organisation that employs less than 50 people and has a turnover under 6.5 million. Across the UK, there were nearly 6 million businesses last year. A third of all businesses are based in London, so huge numbers of British small businesses are based in the capital. Obviously, there are big challenges now such as the pandemic crisis and the Brexit. However if we tackle these crises, many of these small businesses will grow to become medium and large businesses over the coming years and decades. Others will remain small as much by choice as circumstance, placing an emphasis on great customer service and serving their local community.
Crippling business rates
Despite their importance to the London economy, the capital's small businesses haven't always received the support they need from the city authorities. Even before the pandemic struck many business owners were struggling with rocketing business rates. Many were being forced out of business with a devastating impact on High Streets across our boroughs. Back then, Renew mayoral candidate Kam Balayev was already meeting with business owners who were quick to tell him how difficult things had become. Many were making the move online to escape prohibitive business rates.
When the pandemic struck many businesses that were already struggling because of business rates were now faced with a whole new challenge. High business rates had undermined their resilience. Businesses that might have been able to survive the pandemic, unfortunately, went to the wall.
A champion for London's small businesses
Kam Balayev has been travelling across London meeting small business owners. From shopkeepers in Chinatown to restaurateurs in Haringey, he has been inspired by the hardworking and visionary people he has met. He now has a clear understanding of the challenges faced by small business owners and is determined to be their champion as mayor. His plans for The New Economy have small businesses at their heart, helping to build a city that is more inclusive.
A bold plan for small businesses
Kam sees small businesses as a key part of his bold plan for The New Economy. He wants to make our local High Streets vibrant places with affordable business rates and excellent public transport. He will work with the government to reestablish a bank for London businesses, making it easy for them to access affordable loans. He will also make sure that the digital transformation process for small businesses is completely painless, delivering real benefits for small businesses.
As mayor, Kam Balayev will be a voice for the city's small businesses, ensuring they have a level-playing field to compete with larger organisations.