The context for London’s recovery is extremely challenging, with growing pressures on the cost of living for many Londoners, especially those on the lowest incomes. This crisis has exposed long-standing inequalities in our society; disproportionately affecting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. The opportunities and challenges of the pandemic are of a scale not seen since the second world war.
Yet, in the face of such adversity, London has really come together to meet this challenge head on. I’ve been inspired by the true partnership-based approach, described as the blueprint for how London government might look in the future. What’s more, leaders such as Lord Simon Woolley who helped to shape City Hall’s recovery plans regularly and rightly described equalities, diversity and inclusion as part of the DNA of London’s recovery.
In October 2020, the Mayor declared City Hall as an anti-racist organisation. Just two months later, I chaired an international event exploring practical interventions being undertaken by cities to combat racism. It was inspiring to hear how Deputy Mayors and policy makers from Toronto, Chicago and Rotterdam to name but a few were seizing the opportunities of the crisis while future proofing their cities for the next set of challenges.
We are using our recovery from COVID-19 to reimagine our city as a place with a better long-term future for Londoners. One which is safer, fairer, greener and more resilient than it was before.
London’s business and community groups have come together with the Mayor and leaders of London Councils to formulate nine ‘missions’ for all of London to work towards to achieve the change we’d like to see. In addition, London’s largest organisations have signed the London Anchor Institutions Charter, pledging to leverage their procurement budgets, recruitment resources and estate management capacity to support Londoners most impacted by covid-19 and the growing cost of living crisis.
I encourage you to watch the full recording to learn from London and other cities of what has worked and practical ways to navigate out of this crisis towards cities that are more equal, feel safer and are more prosperous for all.