Green mayoral contender says Labour and Tories have “let London down”

The Greens have increased their vote share at every election since the mayoralty’s creation in 2000, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Green Party mayoral candidate Zoe Garbett (credit Noah Vickers-LDRS)
Green Party mayoral candidate Zoë Garbett (credit Noah Vickers/LDRS)

The Green Party’s London mayoral contender set out her stall today (Tuesday 26th) with pledges to bring down tube and bus fares and to extend free school meals.

Speaking at her campaign launch in Bethnal Green, candidate Zoë Garbett warned the capital has become “far too expensive” for “too many people”, and said Labour and the Tories have “let London down”.

She told an audience of journalists and party members: “As a councillor in Hackney, I know how unaffordable this city has become. As a renter, I know how insecure it can feel.

“Low-paid work forces people to skip meals, and schools are closing because families can’t afford to live here. We have to do better – and we can.”

Garbett promised that if elected, she would extend free bus travel to under 22s, and to asylum seekers, as well as reinstating free pre-9am travel for Freedom Pass and 60+ Oyster card holders.

The candidate argued that freezing fares, as Labour mayor Sadiq Khan has done for single pay-as-you-go journeys, “isn’t enough”, and that she would “work to bring down the cost of fares across our city”.

She added that she would extend Mr Khan’s free school meal programme to cover secondary schools as well as primaries, “so no child is hungry”.

Garbett also pledged to “set up a rent commission to get a better deal for renters – not only introducing a rent freeze, but ultimately bringing down rents”, though the move would require government support. The Conservatives are opposed to rent controls, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Local Democracy Reporting Service last week it was not his party’s policy “at the moment”.

The Greens have increased their vote share at every election since the mayoralty’s creation in 2000. In 2012’s contest, they overtook the Liberal Democrats to come third – a position they have retained ever since.

Khan and Tory candidate Susan Hall have both said the election is a “two horse race” between each other, with the Labour mayor recently penning a “love letter” to Green and Lib Dem voters to “lend” him their support.

According to the latest poll, Khan is on track to receive 51% of the vote, with Hall trailing on 27%. The poll, conducted by Savanta, had the Lib Dems’ Rob Blackie at 10%, followed by Garbett at 8% and Reform UK’s Howard Cox at 2%.

The London mayoral election is on 2nd May, along with elections to the London Assembly.

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