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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mayor of London elections – Susan Hall: “I am listening to Londoners, and they tell me they want a mayor who will get a grip of crime, build family homes people can afford and scrap the ULEZ expansion on day one.”

The race for the next London Mayor has started. Londoners will go to the polls on 2 May 2024. To help you decide who you think best represents you we have spoken with your Mayoral candidates. Here is our exclusive with Tory candidate Susan Hall

Susan Hall is a seasoned politician having served as a Member of The London Assembly since 2017, and as a councillor of Harrow London Borough Council since 2006. She was also leader of the London Conservatives on the London Assembly from December 2019 to May 2023.

Now Susan her set her sights on becoming Mayor of London.

Born in 1955 in Middlesex, she initially went to work in her father’s garage, before starting a business of her own. Susan’s political career began back in 2006 when she was elected as councillor for Hatch End Ward on Harrow Council in 2006.

A member of the Conservative Party, Susan is passionate about community safety and policing issues – with the tagline, ‘Safer with Susan’.

Describing herself as a Londoner through and through, Susan believes the people of London are being ignored, and that she will be, ‘a mayor who listens.’

She has stated: “Now I am running to be Mayor of London, so that I can listen to Londoners and make life better for you and your family”.

Talking with The Asian Standard, Susan Hall outlined her plans to tackle the key issues faced by London.

Do you agree that there is a rise in Islamophobia (hate crime against Muslims)?

The rise in Islamophobia is a fact, with a more than 600% increase since last year. London doesn’t work when Londoners do not feel safe, and that’s why I would ensure that all crimes were taken seriously, backed by a £200-million investment into the Met police. This will let us return to borough-based policing, putting police back into the heart of the community.

Why won’t you call hate crime against Muslims as Islamophobia?

I have, frequently—not only in an opinion article in the Evening Standard but for years at the London Assembly and as a local councillor in Harrow. Londoners’ safety should be the number one priority of anyone wanting to be Mayor; it certainly is mine.

Can you tell us about your aim to make lives better for families in London? Why do you feel families are so important?

My aim to make lives better for families in London revolves around keeping your family safe and ensuring we have more affordable housing. Everyone deserves to know that their family is safe, and that’s why my return to borough-based policing, with a £200 million investment into the Met, is so important. I am also committed to building more family homes people can afford, to address the housing crisis and help families set down roots.

Families are the bedrock of communities and make our vibrant city what it is – a home to so many. They provide stability, support, and a sense of belonging.

Your primary focus is on policing. In a city struggling with knife crime and gang violence, what can you do that Sadiq Khan cannot?

Because I take crime seriously. I’m listening to Londoners, and across our great city, they’re asking for a return to borough-based policing – which puts police back into our communities and on the beat. Backed by a £200 million investment into the Met, I’ll recruit more police and put them back on the beat. I will equip front-line officers with hand-held metal detectors to make sure that stop and search is less invasive.

You plan to scrap the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone. With London notorious for polluted air, how can you defend this policy?

The ULEZ expansion, by the mayor’s own admission, has nothing to do with cleaning the air – his own impact assessment said it would have next to no impact. Where it is having an impact is on families and small businesses, who are being pushed into debt by a £12.50 daily charge they cannot afford. How can anyone stand by a policy that imposes a tax on the lowest earners in our city? On day one, I will proudly scrap the ULEZ expansion, which is nothing but a tax on Londoners.

Your policy to advocate for a move away from high – rise tower blocks to ‘ensure that residents have their own front door and a small garden’. Although admirable, with London already overcrowded, is this policy realistic?

Of course, it is – there are fabulous plans out there by talented urban planners which can see low-rise, high-density homes across our city, allowing us as a city to start transitioning away from high-rise tower blocks. My plan promotes a sense of community, improves quality of life with access to outdoor space, and allows for urban planning that accommodates the growing population while avoiding overcrowding.

You intend to scrap the 20mph limits on the capital’s main roads. How can you do this without compromising safety?

I’ll review 20mph limits on TfL main roads and adjust them where it is safe to do so. Prioritising safety, we’ll ensure any changes maintain road safety standards while addressing the concerns of drivers and reducing congestion. I will retain 20mph zones around residential areas, schools and hospitals.

London has a large South Asian community. If elected, what are your policies to represent their best interests?

My plan is one written by and for Londoners. I’ll continue to represent the interests of all London communities, including the South Asian community because we are all Londoners.

That means backing small businesses, improving policing and safety, and building more affordable family homes. Additionally, just as I have for many years as a Councillor in Harrow, I will work closely with community leaders to ensure that the unique needs and concerns of the South Asian community are heard and addressed effectively.

Due to the crises in Gaza, there is much tension between the Jewish and Muslim communities, with hate crime rapidly increasing in recent months. How do you intend to bridge the divide and ensure people from both communities are safe?

The first priority of any Mayor must be keeping all Londoners safe. I’ll increase police presence in areas with high hate crime rates, establish specialist units to tackle violent crime, and bring back borough-based policing. With this community-first approach, we’ll combat hate crimes effectively.

Many political pundits are predicting that the Conservatives will lose the next general election – what are your views on this?

My sole focus is on 2 May. I am listening to Londoners, and they tell me they want a mayor who will get a grip of crime, build family homes people can afford and scrap the ULEZ expansion on day one.

If elected, what is your vision for the future of the capital?

My vision is the same as what any Londoner would want their city to be – a place where you feel safe, where you can afford to rent and travel, and where you can set down roots.

Your party has been accused in the past of having an issue with Islamophobia. Are they right?

No. As the Mayoral candidate, I am very concerned about the Islamophobia we see on the streets of London. There has been a rise of 600% over the last year and it is vital we stamp that out. I have a plan to get more police on the beat and specifically target hate crimes – whether these are crimes against Muslims or any community in our city.

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