Olympic and Paralympic Jobs

MQT on 2012-09-19
Session date: 
September 19, 2012
Question By: 
Stephen Knight
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Given that part of your pledge to create 200,000 new jobs over the course of your mayoralty included the 10,000 people employed in Games time activity, what plans do you have to help find replacement jobs for these, now redundant, people?


Answer for Olympic and Paralympic Jobs

Answer for Olympic and Paralympic Jobs

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thank you, Stephen. What we have done so far is obviously the temporary jobs that people have had on the Olympics, of one kind or another, have been of great benefit to them and a great thing to have on their Curriculum Vitae (CV). To get them into other jobs what we are doing is supporting a Games graduate network, which is a way of getting London's employers to see the benefits of taking these people on. So far we have had several events. We had a London's newest workforce event here in City Hall during the Games. It was attended by about 70 employers. There are big recruitment events going on at the moment this month. There is one today. There is one on the 27 September. Employers who are interested include; Travelodge, Premier Inn and Greggs, TK Maxx, and many others.

Obviously, I am very confident that people who have done very well for the city during the games will have a head start. They will have a great qualification that will help them to get these jobs, and we are there to assist.

Stephen Knight (AM): Thank you, Mr Mayor, and I am sure we all join with you in that wish. However, isn't it true that all the things that you have referred to, however worthy they might be, will not actually create a single extra new job?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Can I say that Governments do not create jobs.

Stephen Knight (AM): Well, Mr Mayor --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Nor do Mayors. What we do is we support and invest in projects, worthwhile projects that take people on. We are not there to invent work. We are there to support people into work.

Stephen Knight (AM): Mr Mayor, it is a very interesting answer, given that one of your key nine pledges at your election was to, 'Create 200,000 new jobs from direct City Hall programmes'. Don't you think that the electorate had a right to expect that when you said you would create 200,000 new jobs that that would mean that 200,000 Londoners, who would otherwise not have work --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): They will.

Stephen Knight (AM): -- would have work during the course of four years?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): They will, and Crossrail, which is a wonderful scheme, will create 14,000 jobs over a four year period. The tube upgrade is currently on track to employ 18,300. The housing programme that we are embarked on involves 100,000. We have had a discussion about this before.

Stephen Knight (AM): We have seen the lists, Mr Mayor. Thank you for that, but if you are entirely honest, wasn't it just a little bit misleading to make up that total of 200,000 by including short-term contract jobs that would only last a few weeks during the Games?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No, because, as I say - and it was always clear in the manifesto that those were the jobs that we were including - a great many of these people are already being taken on. They have had the benefit of a wonderful employment experience. It would be ludicrous to leave that out. They work very hard and very well. As I say, a large number of them are now going on to full-time jobs. You have taken issue in the past with the suggestion that building new homes creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, because you say a job only lasts a year. That is, a job in construction only lasts a year. I think that is a highly important addition to people's lives and to the economy.

Stephen Knight (AM): Mr Mayor, clearly any job is an important addition, but your pledge was to create 200,000 new jobs over the course of the mayoralty, and I think most people would expect that to mean that 200,000 Londoners had useful employment and paid employment over the course of your mayoralty. As you have quite rightly referred to, when we last discussed this back in May, we discovered that the element from the housing building programme was arrived at by counting each year's employment as a separate job. I think a large part of this comes down to real confusion about what you meant by 200,000 jobs.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): It is very simple, and I can help you. The point I am making is that investment in London's transport, in London's housing, in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and in other great projects, helped to get people into work, and it is one of the best ways in tough times to make sure that you create employment. The figures, actually, I think are an underestimate of the number of jobs that are being created in London.

If you look at the recent employment figures they give great cause for hope, because you are starting to see employment rising again, and I think there is going to be a benign Olympic effect.

Stephen Knight (AM): Let us all hope so. I think everybody in this room will hope that unemployment will decline. Your Deputy Mayor for Business, Kit Malthouse, recently told the Economy Committee back in June - I suppose not that recently - that you would be publishing a definition of what you meant by a job in the context of your jobs pledge, before the Games, to clear this issue up once and for all. Clearly, that has not been published. When are you going to publish your definition of what you meant by jobs?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I think I have told you. Listen, I think most people would think that to be in employment for a year on something that is bringing in income, helping them to put bread on the table for their families, is a job. If you cannot define a job in those terms, I really do not know how to help you.

Stephen Knight (AM): Thank you.

Darren Johnson (Chair): Assembly Member Richard Tracey.