Writing in Co-operative News, Labour's candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan sets out how co-operative values and principles will shape his approach as Mayor.

I recently unveiled my manifesto – a manifesto for all Londoners – which sets out my vision for London.

London gave me the chance to go from a council estate to helping to run a successful business and serving as a transport minister. My ambition is to ensure that all Londoners have the same opportunities to get on in life that our city gave me: a home you can afford, a good job, an affordable and modern transport system and a safe, clean and healthy environment.

It is no surprise that in seeking to ensure that all Londoners can share in the benefits of this city, my manifesto includes a range of co-op, mutual and not-for-profit proposals – from ensuring financial inclusion through working with credit unions to community energy. I draw inspiration from a sector which in London contains hundreds of thousands of member-owners and hundreds of small and medium sized community-led enterprises.

One of my first experiences in the workplace was in the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership, where I had a weekend job as a sales assistant in the curtains and fittings department at the Peter Jones store when I was 18. It was a great place to work and gave me the opportunity to get a bit of extra cash while I was studying to be a lawyer.

The wider co-operative movement in London has always been at the forefront of inclusive and shared business practices, which can play a key role in the capital’s future success. The manifesto I have put forward has a range of positive solutions to the biggest challenges this city faces and includes proposals drawn and inspired by the co-operative movement.

For example, one of my top priorities will be to ensure London sees a step change in housebuilding. I know co-operative housing can play a strong role in fixing the housing crisis.

I will work with housing co-operatives to ensure they are better able to invest in their land and resources. If I am elected mayor in May, I will set up a London-wide not-for-profit lettings agency to work to end rip-off fees for renters and help reform the private rental sector in the capital.

Transport is another key priority. We need an effective, efficient and affordable transport network for all Londoners. People are understandably getting sick and tired of paying the most expensive fares in Europe. That’s why I will freeze fares for four years and ensure that we get the maximum out of the existing network whilst ensuring that standards and infrastructure investment continues.

As part of this process, I will ensure that the not-for-profit mutual bus sector is better placed to win contracts to run our bus services. The re-investment of this profit and community involvement in services will place bus services in London on a firmer footing. Community-led mutual bus services are delivering services in the capital already, but I want to see more.

Another area I will focus on is creating a cleaner, greener London. The parks and green spaces are part of the capital’s DNA, but we know that London is one of the world’s most polluted cities. Too many of us are suffering and dying from London’s filthy air every year. That’s why as part of my plan for a greener London, I want to learn from the experience of
the co-operative and community energy sectors to ensure public buildings are equipped to provide solar energy for communities around the capital. I have already committed to establishing a not- for-profit organisation – ‘Energy for Londoners’ – which will ensure that the capital benefits from mutual bulk energy buying and can play a vital role in supporting new and established community energy schemes across the city.

London is the greatest city in the world and if I am elected in May, I promise to be a mayor for all Londoners. Through these proposals and many others, we can make a real difference and demonstrate how co-operative values and principles can play an active and positive role in the future of London and all Londoners.