West Ham MP Lyn Brown knows who she is backing for London Mayor


- Credit: Archant

Over Easter, the Panama Papers revealed the worst excesses of the super-rich. Most media attention was on the Prime Minister’s overseas tax affairs. The ‘did he or didn’t he’ benefit from shoddy tax avoidance practices left a bad taste in our mouths.

I’ve worked hard and paid tax all my life. It’s just what you do. Civilised societies are built on the idea of a common good, with common rules, shared and respected by all. Everyone uses the same roads and railways; everyone’s protected by our armed forces, the police, the fire and rescue services. When we’re sick, even people with private healthcare turn to the NHS. There’s a section of society, though, that thinks they are above paying their share of tax. They leave a £34billion hole in our nation’s finances.

The super-rich live in a world where they buy properties in London through companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, managed by Law Firms in Panama with offices in Bermuda. The upshot is that London’s property market is booming, but buying a home is well beyond the reach of many. Private rents are soaring. It’s often impossible to discover who is living off the sky-high rents that cripple many Londoners’ finances. Just how much do the property sharks make? Do they pay their fair share of tax?

In less than a month, Londoners vote to elect a new Mayor. After eight years of Boris Johnson, the Tories offer us Zac Goldsmith, who admits being dealt, “a good hand in life.” He’s thought to be worth £200-£300million. London can’t afford another four years being run by someone who’s never lived as an ordinary Londoner.

Labour’s candidate for Mayor, Sadiq Khan, was born on a council estate. He understands our city and understands the problems Londoners face. He plans to fix them. He promises to build genuinely affordable homes as his highest priority, to strengthen renters’ rights and support Londoners to become homeowners.

On May 5 you have a choice. I hope you choose a genuine Londoner with a solid and reliable plan for putting our city and its people first. More from Lyn

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