Sadiq Khan and fellow Mayors of two other major English cities have called on the Chancellor to close gaps in his financial support scheme for the self-employed estimated to be affecting nearly three million people nationally.
In a joint letter, the London Mayor, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram urge Rishi Sunak to “rectify significant gaps” they say leave out newly self-employed people and others, to “fundamentally reform” the scheme to “better reflect loss of earnings” and to strengthen the Universal Credit safety net.
The initiative by the three Labour Mayors appears to show a recognition that they have a common interest in showing unity of purpose as leaders of regional authorities following clashes between each of them and Boris Johnson’s national government this year.
On London has documented a series of attacks by ministers on the autonomy and powers of Mayor Khan this year, beginning shortly before the pandemic took hold and escalating with the ongoing treatment of Transport for London after the impacts of Covid-19 on its revenues created a need for government financial support.
Burnham secured national prominence last month after challenging the government’s decision to move the Greater Manchester area into the highest, Tier 3, level of Covid alert with what he considered insufficient financial help. At the time, he drew comparisons between reaction to “London” facing a shift up into the lower level Tier 2 and the position of his city region – one of a number of interventions by him and Rotheram suggesting that the capital receives preferential treatment.
However, on Tuesday, Burnham announced on Twitter that Khan would be joining him and Rotheram at an event in support of ExcludedUK, a campaign for the self-employed people the joint letter addresses. “When Liverpool, Manchester & London come together, it’s an unstoppable force,” Burnham wrote, describing Khan as “our good friend”.
Last month, Khan and Burnham wrote a joint article calling on Johnson to value big city Mayors more, including in the national effort to subdue the coronavirus. And in a recent speech, Khan accused national government of having a hostile attitude to London and of seeking to pit different parts of the country against each other.
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