INDUSTRY VIEW: London technology figures and firms say what they hope to see from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
After a hard-fought, and often divisive, election campaign, the Labour candidate Sadiq Khan was named Mayor of London.
All five main candidates made at least some commitments to the technology industry, but Khan promised to make London a “world leading tech hub” and would address skill, infrastructure and business issues that stand in the way of that ambition.
The industry, he said, would stand alongside finance as the “heartbeat” of the capital and would use open data and technology to boost the efficiency of London’s authorities and police. You can find out more of his commitments here, but what does the industry think of his election?
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates
“I would like to congratulate Sadiq on Friday’s result. This was the first election contested since London has established itself as a global tech power and all candidates demonstrated their commitment to the sector by endorsing and debating our manifesto ‘London’s Digital Future’ in February.
“Sadiq placed a particular emphasis on tech by touring East London soon after receiving his party’s nomination and I was impressed by his commitment to supporting tech as London’s economic engine.
“We would welcome a 100 day plan for London tech, including the appointment of a Chief Digital Officer and a comprehensive plan for how the candidate would work within City Hall. Sadiq has committed to creating this position and has the opportunity to shape how the role will function for future administrations.
“Tech is the fastest growing sector of London’s economy and this impressive growth is propelling us up the international rankings of global tech cities. The next four years will be crucial in maintaining this momentum and Sadiq can support this by delivering on his commitment to infrastructure investment, a Skills for Londoners Taskforce and affordable rents.”
James Layfield, London Tech Ambassador and CEO of Central Working
“Sadiq will undoubtedly focus on representing London on the international stage to attract talent and investment from around the world. However, I hope that he will recognise that London doesn’t have the UK monopoly on good tech ideas, and I expect he’ll look to work collaboratively with regional technology hubs.
“London remains the global city of choice for tech business but many of the UK’s cities have cultivated their own thriving tech clusters in recent years, and they’ll be looking to the Capital to set an example. Sadiq could be a great asset for London and our thriving regional hubs, sharing best practice with other local authorities to forge improved links for access to talent, supply chains and customer bases. Naturally our new mayor should be jumping on a plane to bang London’s drum on the global stage, but he should also jump on the M1 occasionally.”
Jason Downes, managing director of Powwownow
“London and the UK want to be seen as a global business super power and a place where technology start-ups thrive and where the best talent is attracted to. For this to happen, broadband speed and availability need to be seriously looked at. Both above and below ground, British people are wanting to consume and access more data, more information at a quicker pace and they are not being able to so nearly as much as they would like.
“People want to be able to work and access files wherever they are and that is what modern society and methods of working demand. We’re based in Richmond and certainly practice what we preach when it comes to flexible working. A lot of our staff work flexibly, be it at home or in coffee shops, and it is absolutely crucial that the current situation improves in order to help make this way of working the norm not the exception.”
Erki Kert, CEO of Big Data Scoring
“The EU referendum: one of the greatest political decisions UK voters ever faced is only six weeks away and it undeniably loomed over the mayoral elections.
“Although EU citizens won’t get a vote in the referendum, we had our say by backing a mayoral candidate who will campaign for Britain to remain in Europe. A vote for Sadiq Khan was a vote to maintain and build on the legacy of technological innovation – along with the open common market – that being part of the EU has fostered.
“As Mr Khan is aware, for those of us in this sector – especially fintech – then Britain’s exit from the EU would be a disaster. He has vowed to protect the incubator and startup spaces that encourage entrepreneurialism and innovation, driving the UK economy forward. On this he has the backing and support of most in the fintech and startup space.”
George Burgess, CEO of Gojimo
“I would like to warmly congratulate Sadiq Khan on his recent victory as London Mayor. I welcome his commitment to start-ups and his pledge to ensure that young Londoners have the necessary skills to thrive.
“Our city’s tech start-ups underpin London’s impressive economic success story and it was wonderful to see Khan’s earnest backing of the business community and his commitment to being London’s most pro-business mayor. Combining this with a pledge to provide young people with the tech and business skills needed to excel in our city’s economy played a big role in his popularity among young voters.
“We will whole-heartedly support his initiatives for business and aspiring young entrepreneurs.”