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The Farah London COVID recovery plan

London deserves a committed leader with a plan to get the city moving, to create jobs and to urgently drive full-scale economic recovery. Less than 12 months ago, London had a daytime population of nearly 9.3 million people. As the country’s largest city, London generated an annual gross product of nearly £487 billion based on the latest figures. The nighttime economy alone was worth £26 billion a year. As the capital city of what is now the world’s 5th largest economy, London continues to be a leading global economic and cultural centre, receiving 21 million visitors in 2019.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc upon the city, with millions of residents directly impacted by the pandemic. Thousands of businesses have closed, with more on the brink of collapse and a new wave of job losses feared to sweep through before summer. The patient residents of London cannot continue to jump in and out of lockdown. Real leadership is required to guide the city through this turmoil and repair the damage before it becomes irreversible.

As your next Mayor I will deliver a practical, hard-hitting economic recovery plan. A plan that will bring investment back into London and drive the creation of new and high value jobs. Importantly it will allow our city to prosper and our communities to thrive as they once again look forward to a positive future.

The Farah London COVID recovery plan

The proposed plan, based on seven key initiatives to recover and restart London, is a product of robust consultation with the community, experts from across London and the UK and from other major cities across the globe. The plan includes the immediate actions that must be taken to drive London’s recovery and strategies to secure long-term regeneration and growth.

1. Prioritise public health and well-being

  • Make available well subsidised, high accuracy, rapid COVID PCR testing to London residents on mass through mobile testing facilities in easily accessible locations across London. This will include:

    • Equipping major stadiums, concert halls, theatres, gyms and restaurants with PCR testing facilities to rebuild patronage and create jobs
    • Providing mobile COVID PCR Testing 
    • To conduct home visits for London’s more vulnerable residents
  • Rebuild confidence in the public transport system
  • Adjust our civic spaces to make physical distancing easier
  • Strengthen and increase the number of cleaning teams deployed to sanitise frequently touched surfaces as more people return to the city
  • Continue to promote physical distancing
  • Introduce a City of London Volunteer Carer program, supported by a digital app, to recruit and manage a new network of volunteers. The carers will be focussed on supporting, monitoring and checking in with vulnerable members of the broader London community. This will be an important support mechanism for the NHS struggling to provide appropriate coverage across London
  • Provide safe accommodation for the homeless
  • Provide mental health and well-being clinics, to support those suffering from COVID related depression and anxiety. This will be supported by a communications campaign promoting good mental health and relaxation techniques
  • Introduce free video consultations with mental health experts for London residents via a newly developed counselling digital app


2. Reignite London

  • London Business Concierge – City Hall to offer a concierge service to guide and help businesses access the full scope of support services available to them. This will be supported by a Business in London newsletter, social media, website and new London magazine
  • Produce vouchers to enable small businesses to access business support services
  • Help small businesses with grants to rent retail premises to support our city’s enigmatic High Street precincts
  • Remove fees for street market trading
  • Sponsor events to attract people into the city centre
  • Promote and stimulate city business through a “what’s on” marketing campaign
  • City Hall to take up short tenancies in vacant locations to stimulate new business and “pop-up” retail/dining opportunities
  • Continue to develop COVID safe spaces for on-street dining and trading in the city
  • Deliver COVID-safe opportunities for exhibitions, events and pop-up activities in vacant shop fronts
  • Provide support for live music and performance – with City to Hall to produce a program of events and activities to keep the city alive and engaged
  • Optimise the use of public space for events to respond to the impacts of COVID to deliver reimagined events, such as multicultural celebrations, music, fashion, sporting and food and beverage events
  • Stimulate high street trade by create digital apps for each borough to enable pick-up and delivery services with zero commission to retailers. This program will target and benefit small local businesses such as dry cleaners, shoe repairs and food retailers


3. Build economic resilience

  • Create and accelerate the delivery of robust infrastructure across the city with an infrastructure stimulus program funded by the city in partnership with the government and private sector.
  • Rapidly accelerate the delivery of full-fibre digital infrastructure
  • Support growing industry sectors and innovation by providing up to 6 months free office space for start-ups, matching entrepreneurs with investors and fostering international business partnerships and investment
  • Attract FDI back into London
    Lobby government to reduce corporation tax for new investors into London, especially in high tech industries and the hospitality sector
    Lobby government to freeze stamp duty on the purchase of all commercial assets
  • Simplify planning permissions as an incentive for investors to commence business development activities in key areas of need, including affordable housing, hotels, hospitality, and mix use developments
  • Examine introducing 2 months council tax relief for all residents
  • Introduce city to city business tunnels with key Commonwealth economies to remove red tape, stimulate foreign direct investment and job creation and expand access to international markets for London exporters
  • Introduce an active program of virtual trade delegations to drive international market development and to grow the export economy


4. Hospitality industry lifeline

  • Produce tailored vouchers for the hospitality sector to enable businesses to access specialised support services including advice on finance and business recovery, legal, marketing and communications advice
  • Encourage and fast track applications from cafes and restaurants across the capital to expand their outdoor dining facilities, provide access to on-street parking bays where safe and extend trading hours
  • Provide grants to directly support salaries for new hires who have completed recognised training
  • Provide significantly discounted public transport fares to hospitality workers, in addition to 100 days of free public transport upon Farah London’s appointment as Mayor, as part of a new planned dynamic ticketing system for the city.


5. Expand equitable opportunity and access

  • Deliver affordable housing for low to moderate income earners and key workers
  • Strengthen support for accommodation and referral services to reduce homelessness
  • Pilot unique support for vulnerable communities, including youths and ethnic minorities
  • Introduce the amplified academies initiative to provide access to music performance and production opportunities for disaffected youths in vulnerable communities across London. This will help break the cycle of gang participation and work to restore the communities confidence in London’s civic spaces
  • Provide free laptops for Children and free mobile WiFi access. This will assist vulnerable families, currently surviving with significantly reduced incomes as a result of the pandemic, to continue to prioritise their children’s education
  • Provide tailored support for carers of London’s vulnerable residents and those working in care homes that have been neglected to date.



6. Transform our spaces and buildings

  • Repurpose vacant spaces for new flexible, creative experimental uses

    • Reform permit and other regulations to allow for a wider range of commercial and service-related activities in retail zones
    • Facilitate the negotiation of flexible lease options
  • Accelerate the city’s greening program and expansion of nature corridors
  • Implement climate action and improve building performance across London
  • Create more public art to create a new and contemporary sense of identity and pride in the city


7. Strengthen community participation

  • Create places for the community to participate in government decision making
  • Deepen engagement with the community in strategic planning matters including the future of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
  • City Hall to provide regular updates to community and business about progress during the COVID recovery process
  • Engage the philanthropic sector to support community priorities