On Thursday 5 May, London will be holding its fifth mayoral election, with Labour MP for Tooting Sadiq Khan and Conservative MP for Richmond Park Zac Goldsmith the two leading contenders.
The role of Mayor of London has developed a high degree of influence since its institution in 2000 – particularly during the eight-year tenure of current Mayor Boris Johnson – so the results of this election will be of keen interest to investors with a stake in the fortunes of London property.
The successful candidate will have a major influence on infrastructure and new housing delivery across the capital, particularly in light of the structural undersupply that still grips the city. Plans to resolve this issue will be central to the major candidates’ platforms.
Khan and Goldsmith could hardly be more opposed in terms of background and political approach.
Khan forged a career as a human rights solicitor before moving into politics, serving as a minister of two departments under the previous Labour government before subsequently serving as shadow justice secretary in opposition.
Khan has set an ambitious house-building target of 80,000 new homes in the capital per year, alongside a commitment to designate 50% of all new housing built on public land as affordable.
Coming from the other side of the aisle is Eton-educated Goldsmith. Politically less experienced than his Labour counterpart, his staunch opposition to Heathrow expansion plans was perhaps the defining issue of his six years as an elected official. He is also, perhaps controversially, in favour of.
Policy-wise, Goldsmith has committed to not raising council tax and funding upgrades to the city’s vast Underground network. He also plans to guarantee 50,000 new homes in the capital every year through 2020 while simultaneously protecting the city’s green belt.
The likelihood of these targets being met remains up for debate.
Who’s going to win?
While predicting a winner at this stage is difficult, polling by YouGov has had Khan in the lead since January. A new poll released on Monday has Khan at 32% to Goldsmith’s 25%, with no other candidate registering more than 5%. But with “don’t knows” at 23%, there is clearly still a large number of undecided voters out there who will play a key role in deciding the fate of the election.
However, as many of us learnt during last year’s General Election, pre-election polling can be far from accurate, and as it stands this race remains very much an open contest.
From last month’s, to a new London Mayor and the , we’ll continue keeping you up to date on the UK’s continuously evolving political calendar.
In the meantime, we’ve created a helpful summary of the main Mayoral candidates’ housing policies below.
CANDIDATE HOUSING POLICIES AT A GLANCE