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King’s For Change Helps Run Mayoral Accountability Assembly with Citizens UK

Mayor Sadiq Khan at Accountability Assembly
Image courtesy of Eric Cui Wu

On 25 April, students from King’s for Change, a member group of grassroots campaign organisation Citizens UK, ushered in over 2,000 civilian attendees to London Citizens’ Mayoral Accountability Assembly.

The incumbent Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was invited onstage to commit to London Citizens’ agenda, including pledges on Work and Wages, Migration, Housing, and a continued relationship between the organisation and the mayor.

‘Buzzing’ might not be the typical adjective assigned to a political event at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. But an evening one week before the London Mayoral elections, schoolchildren, university students, families and community leaders from thirty boroughs filled the venue. Spirited processions carried homemade banners, organically representative of London’s communities. Primary school choirs performed bittersweet songs of desperation for a brighter future, and personal accounts celebrated the city’s stories of hope. East Londoners were especially celebratory, cheering on their section with the energy of a friendly sports match. A Colombian traditional dance concluded the assembly.

Image courtesy of Saskia Catton

Hosted by multi-faith event organisers, the Assembly intended to offer “a different kind of politics – based on what unites us, not divides us”.

The event’s format was certainly creative; Londoners took to the stage to call on the next Mayor of London to support London Citizens Manifesto, constructed through a listening campaign of 6000 conversations and workshops with Londoners. Parent Power, another organisation co-led by the King’s Social Mobility & Widening Participation department and South London Citizens, was represented onstage.

London Citizens is part of Citizens UK, a community-based organisation which campaigns and builds relationships with decision-makers in government. King’s For Change is one of 250 dues-paying member groups that form the organisation.

Image courtesy of Eric Cui Wu

Past achievements for Citizens UK include winning accreditation for 13,000 businesses to pay employees a living wage, reducing fees for child citizenship and providing free school meals for children regardless of parental immigration status and the creation of the first Community Land Trust in London in response to affordable housing issues.

London Citizens has been hosting an London Mayoral Accountability Assemblies since the office of Mayor of London was created in 2000. Sadiq Khan and Susan Hall, the candidates projected most likely to win, were both invited to attend this year. Hall revoked her attendance shortly before the event.

Khan was seated amongst the audience. Between visual performances conveying the reality of policy issues, individual stories of struggle and victory, and personal appeals, he was invited onstage to pledge his support to key asks in four categories.

On Work and Wages, Khan agreed to support:

  1. Calling on the National Government to pay adult social workers the London Living Wage
  2. Making London a Living Hours City
  3. Establishing a vision to require real Living Wage and Living Hours with all Mayoral powers, asset management and procurement plans.

On Migration and Refugees, he committed to:

  1. Co-producing a campaign to promote ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
  2. Providing asylum seekers free London bus travel
  3. Fairer, quicker, and cheaper pathways to citizenship.

On Housing and Repairs, Khan said ‘yes’ to:

  1. Supporting current and future London Citizen’s Community Land Trust homes
  2. Tackling bad landlords
  3. Repairing and retrofitting social homes.

The incumbent mayor also committed to maintaining a relationship with London Citizens, if re-elected.

To keep up or get involved with King’s For Change, click here.

Tam Martin Fowles, artist and founder of Hope in the Heart CIC. Image courtesy of Kayla Rahaman.
Annalou Oakland, an artist featured at Assembly. Image courtesy of Kayla Rahaman.

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