By Sarmad Jawad
London, (The Muslim News): Mayor hopeful Gareth Thomas told The Muslim News that he believes more power should be devolved to London, including the power to issue bonds to invest.
“London produces 25% of the country’s wealth but has the highest cost-of-living and the highest rents in the country. This Tory Government is unlikely to solve London’s problems. That’s why I propose that more power to be devolved to London.”
If elected as a mayor of London, Thomas would issue bonds to build the houses that Londoners need. Thomas would start a company that would encourage Londoners “with spare cash to invest to help other Londoners and make a profit.”
The bonds would be used to build social housing that is owned and run by the people who live in them. This Coop model will allow tenants of social housing to come together and make the big decisions, from the level of rent rises to communal cleaning.
Thomas would like to see this power granted to London’s councils. Thomas would like to see a housing building effort similar to “President Hollande’s [of France] effort to build 150,000 social houses”.
London’s one million Muslims
Thomas was seeking to tap into the one million Muslims who live in the capital, approximately 12.4% of Londoners.
Barack Obama won second term as President by heavily engaging with minority voters, encouraging them to register to vote, volunteer and donate.
This could be repeated in London as the London Mayoral elections are closer in structure to the US than the UK General Elections.
This is a big opportunity for Labour as a straw poll by The Muslim News shows that 48% of Muslims intend to vote Labour.
Thomas seems to playing his cards well. Muslims in the capital are the largest minority group.
London’s ethnic community is diverse – Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Kashmiri, Sri Lankan, Turkish, Turkish Cypriots, Arabs, Iranian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Kosovan, Bosnian, African (including Somalis), Afro Caribbean etc.
Thomas is one of eight Labour candidates for Mayor of London.