London Student

In the race for city hall – who’s looking out for students?

Freshers reading this, be warned: it is harder being a student in London now than ever before. Tuition alone costs £9000, and maintenance grants are about to be axed. London rent prices have gone stratospheric, transport is overpriced; Cycling, one of the few good ways to get around cheap can also be extremely dangerous.

The best student pubs and clubs are being closed in favour of prestigious new housing developments. And London’s laissez-faire buffoon of a Mayor, Boris Johnson, has done next to nothing in the last seven years, perhaps because he has also been working variously as a pundit, author and occasional Member of Parliament.

But what if there was a Mayor not obsessed with vanity projects? A Mayor willing to create policy for the benefit of ordinary Londoners? For the benefit of students? With a vague inkling of hope we decided to examine proposals by potential Labour and Conservative mayoral candidates, Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith, and see what they could offer us.


In London average private sector rents are more than twice the national average for all property sizes, and are set to increase by almost 20% in the next two years, screwing over just about everybody in London who rents – including most of London’s 350,000 students. Can the Mayor do anything?

The Mayor of London is responsible for developing an overall housing strategy, outlining the housing needs of the city, and how they may be achieved; what to build, and where to build it. They then have to work with local councils who often try and force through their own visions of their boroughs.

Boris Johnson’s current housing plan acknowledges the need to build 42,000 homes a year – however, currently less than half of that number are being built. Meanwhile some 344,294 families are on the social housing waiting list in London, according to the GMB Union. So as you might imagine, students are not always top priority. To benefit us, the next Mayor would have to work to decrease rent prices.

They can do that in a number of ways, perhaps by increasing the quantity of affordable housing and social housing being constructed, or more politically by introducing something like a private sector rent cap. For major construction to work, they would have to impose a higher stamp duty on non-domiciled international buyers purchasing London properties as an investment, so the new houses could actually be lived in: Private Eye’s recent investigation into property owned overseas has acutely highlighted this, especially in West London. As well as seeking to decrease the price of private renting, the Mayor would have to introduce controls to tackle exploitative landlords who fail to fulfil their legal obligations.

Khan wants to introduce some kind of rent control – although this isn’t a power the London Mayor technically has (and probably not one George Osborne is willing to give). He’s also said he want to see more affordable housing and cited TFL’s 5,700 acres of unused brownfield sites as a place to start. He’s also proposed City Hall keeping a list of naughty landlords, set up alongside a London-wide not-for-profit housing agency and introduce a ‘London Living Rent’, based on new affordable housing below market value.

Of the Tory candidates Zac Goldsmith was the only one to touch on the issue of absurdly high rents: he’s said he would increase longer-term tenancies (not hugely useful for students who are renting for a relatively short period) and put forward a vague promise to bring rogue landlords to justice.

Public Transport

Since Boris Johnson first came to power in 2008 the cost of travel on both the tube and bus has increased phenomenally – a single tube fare in the same zone has risen by 56% whilst the price of a bus ride has risen by 66% (inflation since 2008 has been just 18%).

Even with a student pay-as-you-go Oyster card, it costs almost five pounds to commute somewhere and back again on the tube. These issues are very much the Mayor of London’s remit. As with housing, it is the responsibility of the Mayor to set out a transport strategy across the city. Beyond this, the Mayor even has the power to appoint the board of TFL and set their budget. The Mayor can literally choose the prices of fares. So who’s offering what?

Khan is seeking to reform bus tickets, so that they are valid for an hour on any bus, shredding transport costs for commuters who have to get multiple buses. He proposes not only a freeze on all fares on the underground, DLR and overground for his full term, but he would cut the cost of a bus fare before also freezing it.

Goldsmith is altogether less generous, and more concerned about cracking down on TFL strike action. He’s made clear he wants to ‘modernize’ transport, likely code for introducing the infamous ‘driverless tube’ that would break the power of the more militant RMT Union. However in a break from traditional Conservative positions, he’s made noises toward expanding the congestion charge zone further, likely into West London. This was an idea Boris scrapped when he first came to power.


Whilst cycling is cheaper than public transport, it is also utterly perilous. Since the beginning of 2009 there have been over 25,000 cycling accidents in London, which have resulted in 88 deaths and 3000 people seriously injured. Many of the incidents are a result of poor road planning –for instance between 2009 and 2013 there were 80 accidents involving cyclists at a single roundabout in Elephant and Castle.

Sadiq Khan has said he would like to see some form of ‘cycle highway’ network with segregated cycle lanes and work to improve dangerous junctions. He’s also signed a pledge to make sure the Mayor’s office would only work with the safest haulage companies, with the majority of fatal cycling accidents caused by HGVs. There is little to say of the Tories on this matter: Goldsmith has promised to “follow Boris’ lead in keeping an emphasis on cycling” and has championed cycling in his home constituency of Wandsworth. However he’s not promised much in the way of funding or expansion of existing Cycle Superhighway schemes.

Night Life

London clubs are a dying breed. Whilst the number of nightclubs has almost halved nationally in the last ten years, London has been hit particularly hard. In 2013 Ministry of Sound narrowly avoided permanently closing its doors. In 2014, Fabric escaped the same fate.

In the last year alone Plastic People, The Buffalo Bar, The Joiners Arms, and Madame Jojo’s have all shut down and in July Hackney Council announced plans to stop issuing late night licenses, unless “there are exceptional circumstances”. Even legendary club Cable in the archways beneath London Bridge station was unceremoniously closed by Network Rail. Most clubs that shut down have done so as their licence has been revoked by the council. Sometimes this is due to drug use and violence associated with the club, sometimes simply because councils don’t want nightclubs in their areas; they’d apparently rather have nice new developments.

As the owner of XOYO, Andy Peyton, puts it, whilst “each council is only responsible for itself, [it] wants to avoid the hassle of having clubs in its area”. He argues, however, that “if someone took a citywide view of the situation, and saw the benefits in terms of tourism and employment, then that would make far more sense”. Such a person exists in cities such as Amsterdam and Paris, where there is a ‘Night Mayor’ to advise the Mayor on how best to protect and promote night-time industries such pubs and clubs. So can we expect something similar coming soon in the UK? To be blunt: no.

Not a single candidate for either party has even tenuously alluded to this issue. Instead it looks as if the frontiers of gentrification will roll on, systematically bulldozing long standing cultural institutions of youth, leaving students nothing but gourmet street food and rooftop cinemas to distract them from looming exams and crippling debt.


None of the potential mayoral candidates invested much time into policies that could help London’s growing student population. Labour candidates promised largely similar policies, albeit with some (such as Sadiq Khan and David Lammy) being more progressive than others (such as Tessa Jowell).

Potential Tory candidates promised even less, partially because they as of yet haven’t fleshed out many policy ideas at all. Irrespective of who becomes Mayor next May, students will have to continue to fight to be heard, and champion their own causes.

Leave a comment

Will Ing


  • I just want to mention I am very new to blogs and actually loved you’re website. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You certainly come with outstanding articles. Regards for sharing your website page.

  • An fascinating discussion will probably be worth comment. I do believe that you simply write on this topic, may well often be a taboo subject but usually individuals are there are not enough to communicate on such topics. To another location. Cheers

  • Thanks , I have recently been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the best I have found out till now. However, what about the conclusion? Are you positive in regards to the source?

  • Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too magnificent. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a terrific site.

  • I was just looking for this information for a while. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative sites in top of the list. Generally the top websites are full of garbage.

  • I do agree with all of the ideas you have introduced to your post. They’re very convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too quick for starters. May just you please extend them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

  • I keep listening to the reports lecture about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i get some?

  • My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  • Excellent site. Lots of helpful information here. I’m sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you on your sweat!

  • I like this blog very much, Its a real nice position to read and receive info . “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” by Ernest Hemingway.

  • I merely have to advise you that I am new to wordpress blogging and extremely loved your work. Quite possibly I am going to bookmark your blog post . You certainly have stunning article blog posts. Value it for share-out with us your current website webpage

  • Hey here, just turned familiar with your webpage through Google, and have found that it is seriously beneficial. I will take pleasure in should you decide keep up this idea.

  • MetroClick specializes in building completely interactive products like Photo Booth for rental or sale, Touch Screen Kiosks, Large Touch Screen Displays , Monitors, Digital Signages and experiences. With our own hardware production facility and in-house software development teams, we are able to achieve the highest level of customization and versatility for Photo Booths, Touch Screen Kiosks, Touch Screen Monitors and Digital Signage. Visit MetroClick at or , 121 Varick St, New York, NY 10013, +1 646-843-0888

  • Faytech North America is a touch screen Manufacturer of both monitors and pcs. They specialize in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of Capacitive touch screen, Resistive touch screen, Industrial touch screen, IP65 touch screen, touchscreen monitors and integrated touchscreen PCs. Contact them at, 121 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013, +1 646 205 3214

  • Rattling great information can be found on web site. “I know of no great men except those who have rendered great service to the human race.” by Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire.

  • One more thing. It’s my opinion that there are numerous travel insurance web sites of reliable companies that allow you to enter holiday details and obtain you the rates. You can also purchase the international travel insurance policy on the net by using the credit card. Everything you need to do is always to enter the travel particulars and you can understand the plans side-by-side. Just find the plan that suits your financial budget and needs and use your bank credit card to buy the item. Travel insurance online is a good way to search for a respectable company with regard to international travel insurance. Thanks for revealing your ideas.

  • Varick Street Litho , VSL Print is one of the top printing company in NYC to provide the best Digital Printing, Offset Printing and Large Format Printing in New York. Their printing services in NYC adopts state of the art digital printing services and offset digital printing for products postcards, business cards, catalogs, brochures, stickers, flyers, large format posters, banners and more for business in NYC. For more information on their digital printing nyc, visit or at 121 Varick St, New York, NY 10013, US. Or contact +1 646 843 0800

  • Very interesting topic , regards for posting . “Integrate what you believe into every single area of your life.” by Meryl Streep.

  • I haven’t checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  • Good morning there, just got conscious of your blog through Search engines like google, and realized that it is quite helpful. I will be grateful for should you maintain such.

  • You have mentioned very interesting details ! ps nice site. “Formal education will make you a living self-education will make you a fortune.” by Jim Rohn.

  • I got what you intend, regards for putting up.Woh I am happy to find this website through google. “Spare no expense to make everything as economical as possible.” by Samuel Goldwyn.

  • Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Fantastic blog and outstanding design and style.

  • I truly enjoy reading through on this site, it has good posts . “Violence commands both literature and life, and violence is always crude and distorted.” by Ellen Glasgow.

  • Found your blog in the yahoo bulk shirts warehouse directory, very nice job, thanks. Screen printing could further supply for all types of other substrates from plastic to metal. Despite the fact that tiny and complex details can be gathered, screen printing is preferably ideal for bold and graphic designs.

  • I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re amazing! Thanks!

  • I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  • Good day here, just became familiar with your weblog through Search engines like google, and realized that it’s quite entertaining. I will like should you decide carry on these.

  • I think this is among the most vital information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  • I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thank you, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site?

  • Hi, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  • excellent points altogether, you simply received a new reader. What would you recommend about your post that you simply made some days ago? Any sure?

  • Very interesting points you have mentioned , thanks for posting . “The only thing worse than a man you can’t control is a man you can.” by Margo Kaufman.

  • This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine.

  • Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a wonderful web site.

  • Very interesting details you have observed , regards for putting up. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive” by Sir Walter Scott.

  • Usually I don’t read post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice article.

  • Whats up very nice website!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I am glad to search out so many helpful info right here within the submit, we’d like work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing.

  • You have noted very interesting points ! ps decent website . “Formal education will make you a living self-education will make you a fortune.” by Jim Rohn.

  • I do agree with all of the ideas you have offered on your post. They are very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters. May you please extend them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  • My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • Thanks for all your effort on this website. Kim loves getting into investigations and it’s really easy to see why. A number of us know all about the lively ways you offer very important secrets through this web blog and as well as encourage response from others about this subject then our daughter has been understanding so much. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. Your conducting a really great job.

  • I genuinely enjoy examining on this internet site, it contains great content. “A short saying oft contains much wisdom.” by Sophocles.

  • Excellent blog right here! Additionally your website quite a bit up fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your affiliate hyperlink for your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  • I have read a few excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you set to create this sort of wonderful informative website.

  • We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  • Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched everywhere and just couldn’t come across. What a great web site.

  • I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.