Sadiq Khan calls for support package for London’s businesses and authorities

Sadiq Khan has urged the Prime Minister to put a support package in place for London, as he suggested the capital could enter the higher Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions this week.

The Mayor of London sought clarity on provisions made for businesses, support for vulnerable Londoners and test and trace efforts in the capital, including for those self-isolating.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, Mr Khan said that as the rate of infections in London was “fast approaching” 100 cases per 100,000, it was “likely” the capital would move to the next alert level as early as this week.

Moving from “medium” up to “high” would see the nine million people living in the capital banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

Sadiq Khan visits West End
Sadiq Khan visits West End

“It is vital London has the resources to engage, explain, encourage and enforce heightened restriction and support compliance,” Mr Khan said in the letter.

“One London borough has done some specific work to estimate the cost of providing that service for six months from November onward and it is £300k over and above the allocation that was recently made to councils for support to compliance.

“I am aware that these are discussions that have taken place with other areas that have had restrictions in place and London government would expect to have those discussions as well.”

Mr Khan said the “unique circumstances” of the capital must be reflected in the approach and support.

He added: “The capital was hit particularly hard during the first wave with many of our communities and particularly the BAME community, suffering disproportionately.

“In addition, many families live in overcrowded accommodation and face high levels of homelessness and rough sleeping.

“Our size and density present specific challenges, with the economic case for protecting businesses in the Central Activities Zone overwhelming.”

Among the requests, Mr Khan urged for clarity on what provisions would be made available for businesses, warning that hundreds of thousands of jobs remain at risk in the capital.

He said it was “critical” that the Government resolves the funding position of Transport for London (TfL), urging a package for the network.

As well as seeking clarity on support for vulnerable Londoners, the mayor called for an immediate increase to testing capacity, as well as a “redoubling” of efforts to ensure testing for staff and residents.

“I will continue to urge Londoners to be vigilant, follow the rules and exercise caution,” he said in the letter.

“I accept that these new measures will impact on businesses and Londoners, but we have a joint responsibility to work together and do what we can to control this virus and save lives.”

The mayor has previously insisted London should move as a whole into higher restrictions despite variable rates across the capital.