London has a new mayor, but just how deliverable are his policies?

Congratulations to Sadiq Khan for becoming mayor of London, but now comes the even harder bit says Denise Chevin

So we have a new mayor. Well done Sadiq Khan who we all hope will bring a new focus and energy to this hugely important role. Khan will for now have the luxury of a honeymoon period but as with any newly elected politician it won’t last long before businesses and the public start looking for gaps between husting pledges to delivery from City Hall.

 And Khan has certainly some minor miracles to perform to bridge this gap as policies on housing and infrastructure, both massive issues for the capital, are more aspirations it would seem than anywhere near approaching a well thought out deliverable strategy. Experts in transport are certainly sceptical that the sums work on the transport front. That's a four-year fare freeze largely paid for by catching ticket dodgers, cancelling new route master buses and efficiencies at TFL , which all seems overly optimistic.  As professor Tony Travers from LSE has pointed out, the London transport body hasn’t seen the austerity measures of say London boroughs. But that doesn’t mean that the £1.9bn hole, as TFL as estimated the cost to be because of boost in travellers on Crossrail, can be anywhere near plugged by eagled eyed barrier folk wihout cuts to capital programmes.

You don't have to have a long memory to remember the endless delays on the tube before the upgrades over the past 10 years.  No one wants to go back to that. So there will be a great deal relying on the go to transport man Lord Andrew Adonis who is tipped to be given a job at City Hall, to come up with solutions that elude us mere mortals.

 The defining issue of the election from all the key candidates was the pledge to building 50,000 new homes, and in which Khan pledged  half of them will be affordable. One certainly can’t knock the aspiration, living with your parents till your 40, sofa surfing or worse is not sustainable for anyone. Businesses in the construction industry are like those in other sectors, worried that the chronic housing shortages is making it more difficult to attract people and help power growth, because they can’t afford anywhere to live. A converted grotty council estate garage being let for £750 a month has became the latest example of how utterly despairing London housing has become. But is demanding 50% of all new homes be affordable as a requirement of planning permission the answer? If Khan lines up Islington Council housing chief James Murray as deputy mayor as rumoured to be doing then he’s likely to push on with it.

Islington still hold out for high levels of affordable housing where the member for housing, but as a blanket requirement it seems utterly pie in the sky and could stall the market even more. And by the way how does it all square with starter homes as the Government’s new currency of choice to fulfill of section 106 agreements?

So certainly more questions than answers as the new man moves in. That said, Khan’s victory must clear the way for one quick decision – a new runway for Heathrow. Like his rival Zac Goldsmith,  Khan has opposed building it there, so again we can still expect turbulence – but at least there wouldn’t be the spectacle of yet more civil war within the Conservative Party.