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How would the mayoral candidates help Southwark’s highstreets?

QUESTION: What support do you pledge to help small businesses on Southwark’s highstreets?


Labour candidate – Sadiq Khan

“Building on the new London Business Hub and its network of centres and advisors, I’ll work to further transform small business support in London, with a single front door so business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can easily access the right advice and support.

I’ll also work to improve provision for diverse types of business — including social enterprises and community-owned or cooperative business models.

I’m determined to streamline existing funding and grants, identify new areas of support and lobby the Government for fairer regimes for business rates and corporate taxation.

I will use my new Make London programme to support creative, locally led proposals that bring people together, improve public spaces and support community hubs and high streets.”

NOTE: That in the printed version of the Southwark News on Thursday April 29th  Sadiq Khan did not provide any answers to our questions in time so we based his responses on his manifesto.


Conservative party candidate – Shaun Bailey

“London is a footfall city. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling insurance or coffee, you need footfall.

Sadiq Khan has 4 taxes he’s going to hike that will decimate footfall. The ULEZ expansion, council tax, the Outer London Tax, and the congestion charge.

I’ll scrap every single one of Sadiq Khan’s tax hikes.

We are also going to create thousands of new jobs through the LEAP funding program and, when we can, launch the Festival of London.

The Festival will bring tourists and Londoners out and kick-off London’s recovery with a month of celebration for all London has to offer.”


Liberal Democrat party candidate – Luisa Porritt

“With people spending more time and money locally, we have a massive opportunity to breathe new life into London’s high streets.

By no longer relying solely on retail, we can introduce new services that local people want from shared working hubs, to affordable childcare and more places to eat and drink after work.

As Mayor, I will establish a Reinvent The High Street Taskforce to share best practice and give boroughs the support they need to make their vision a reality.”


Green Party candidate – Sian Berry

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of London’s economy, and a Green Mayor will define a fair, affordable Working Rent for small businesses in all areas of London.

Where necessary, landlords will be incentivised to offer rent holidays, to ensure survival through the consequences of the pandemic and Brexit.

We will also establish new town centre funds financed by the business rates paid by large retail developers and with contributions required as a part of gaining planning permission.

The funds would be run by boards made up of representatives of local businesses, residents and community groups.”


UKIP Party candidate – Peter Gammons

“We need to rally behind them as a community as never before lest we lose them forever.

They have been treated so unfairly during lockdown; forced to close while the bigger stores have been allowed to stay open. I hope voters will remember this when they come to vote.

We also need to improve parking to encourage people to shop in the centre.”


London Real Party candidate – Brian Rose

“I will launch two urgent programmes – one to deal with the short-term threat to Southwark’s small and medium businesses, the other to look at the longer-term implications.

Firstly, I will introduce a six-month business rates holiday for SMEs and implement science-based protocols to safely get people back to work, shop and visit.

And I will convene a panel of experts from key sectors including health, business, science, as well as emergency services and social care specialists, to ensure we have a robust plan to deal with future threats.

My first major event as your next mayor will be the Great Celebration, marking all that makes our city synonymous with theatre, music, food, technology, arts, culture and more. the great celebration.

Throughout August, a series of free music festivals, theatre performances, all-night parties, street fairs, local markets and business networking events – many of them in Southwark, which is peppered with ideal venues – will help announce to the world that London is back with a bang.”


The Reclaim Party candidate – Laurence Fox

“I will unlock London now, and provide 6 months’ free transport on tubes and buses, so that our shops and businesses can get back to work and Londoners have a huge incentive to get to them.

I will support any initiative to help young Londoners find their first jobs with local employers.”


Women’s Equality Party candidate – Mandu Reid

“This crisis is not like any other. The sectors that have been hardest hit, such as retail and hospitality, are dominated by women and young people.

We will deliver a care-led recovery from city hall, creating green jobs and helping parents who have lost their jobs find work by extending the 30hrs per week free childcare allowance to those in training.

And we will drive capital investment into women and minority owned businesses, such as beauty salons and nurseries, which are struggling to stay open.”


Let London Live Party candidate – Piers Corbyn

“I will end all Lockdown and Covid restrictions (and seek to save ALL with serious illnesses). This will be a massive boost to business.

I will also review parking policies to make parking easier and cheaper.

My policies will SAVE RIGHTS, JOBS AND LIVES.”


Burning Pink Party candidate – Valerie Brown

“Southwark needs thriving and safe communities, for us and our children’s children.

Assemblies will look at transport, food supplies, water, even whether we need to change how the local economy works.

Citizens’ Assemblies will find new and exciting ways of living together, allowing small businesses and community networks to thrive on Southwark’s high streets.”



Rejoin EU party candidate – Richard Hewison

“The high-street can only be revitalized when people have money to spend, and restoring trade links with our biggest trading partner HAS to be the first step here.

That having been said, we also need to acknowledge the changing needs and demands of shoppers away from basic necessities and towards the high street as a communal social space, as many of the UK’s smaller towns and cities have experienced already.”


Social Democrat Party candidate – Steven Kelleher

“Rates Holidays for small and new businesses to encourage rebuild after lockdown.

A Mayor’s fund for sustainable investment in start-ups taking a small percentage ownership in viable new businesses.”



Independent – Farah London

“We need to see more foot flow in our highstreets, and an immediate action I will take is to give Londoners 100 days’ free travel on public transport to get people back into town.

I will also be introducing an app for small businesses on the highstreet run by the councils, which will provide a Deliveroo style service for services, such as laundry, shoe repair and others services and products, to encourage people to shop local and not through giants such as Amazon.

I will also extend the freezing of business rates for a longer period, and with vacant shops, provide small businesses the opportunity to run pop up shops rent free for short periods.”


Renew Party candidate – Kam Balayev

“Many small businesses in Southwark have not received the support they need from city hall and are struggling, especially with rocketing business rates.

On day one, I will revise business rates to allow them to compete more fairly with big online competitors.”


Animal Welfare Party candidate – Vanessa Hudson

“The best support we can give to any business is to ensure we never find ourselves in the midst of a deadly zoonotic pandemic again.

London’s Mayor can do that by leading away from the ticking time bomb of our current food system towards a plant-based system.

We must reimagine ourselves as a beacon of sustainable, healthy, compassionate living.

Our smaller businesses are going to need a great deal of support so financial incentives based on the above are one way we can drive that change.”



“Covid has hit small businesses the hardest.

The high street has also suffered from mismanagement and spurious government decisions. I am very much aware of how little support ordinary hard-working people receive and a key point of all my policies is to help those that have been left behind by the current main parties.

I will establish a recovery fund for those that need it, localised community based financial support that stimulate economic growth and help people get back on their feet again.

I will also establish apprenticeship and entrepreneurship opportunities and schemes to further aid the community and help restore the high street to what it once was.

I will further scrap business rates for 2021 as well as the extra burden of congestion charge. This means business are less burdened by what they have owe and are free to work with the government to restore their businesses and livelihoods.”

NOTE: That in the printed version of the Southwark News on Thursday April 29th  Nims Obunge did not provide any answers to our questions in time so we based his responses on his manifesto.


On Thursday May 6 you will be voting for the next Mayor of London and an assembly member to represent you at a local level.

This election, which was postponed for a year because of the pandemic, has seen more mayoral candidates than ever before. Twenty have stood, including the current Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Voters will be given a pink ballot paper on May 6 with the option of selecting two of their preferred candidates.

Different to General Elections, the London Mayor election uses a proportional representation voting system called the supplementary vote. This involves putting an X in column A for your first choice and an X in column B for your second.

This does not reduce the chances of your first choice being successful, but rather ensures all votes matter as they are counted.

We posed the same five questions on housing, crime, environment, transport and the economy, to ensure that you can see in a balanced way where each candidate stands on these key issues.

Here are the answers on:





The four candidates who did not respond to our questions

How to vote for my assembly member and what do they do?



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