Umbrella organization UK Music has welcomed the appointment of new London Mayor Sadiq Khan, citing his support for arts and culture as a timely boost for the city's world-famous music scene.
"UK Music knows that Sadiq is a music fan. That is one of the reasons we are delighted that Londoners have put their trust in him as our new Mayor," reads a statement from the trade body, which says voters have "made the right choice."
Khan was elected to the role of London Mayor on May 5, gaining 57 percent of the vote. He is the city's first Muslim Mayor and replaces Boris Johnson, who has held the post since 2008. In his election manifesto, the human rights lawyer-turned-politician highlighted the U.K. capital's cultural offering stating, "there are few places on earth that can rival our city for its arts and culture.
"[They] help make London an amazing city to live in, and are a big draw to people from all over the world -- both tourists and those looking to the city to work and set up businesses. But I know London's artistic, cultural and creative life faces some real challenges," Khan went on to say, citing previously published research that London has lost around 185 music venues in the past decade.
"The rising cost of living and surging property prices have led to the loss of artist studios and small business start-up space while our city's creative workforce is being driven out, often to cheaper cities across Britain and Europe," he stated, pledging to produce a ‘Cultural Infrastructure Plan for 2030' that would "identify what we need in order to sustain London's future as a cultural capital."
Khan's election campaign included the additional promise to protect London's live music venues, clubs and pubs by introducing an ‘Agent for Change' principle, whereby new property developments located next to music venues are forced to meet the soundproofing costs.
He also said that he would establish Creative Enterprise Zones throughout the city, "providing dedicated small workspace with live-in space so that creative industries, artists and the fashion industry are given extra support to flourish," while promoting London's cultural riches on a global level.
"We applaud this foresight and it is the new Mayor's long term view that is exactly what London's music scene deserves," said UK Music in a statement that warned: "The music industry's performers, creators, entrepreneurs and workforce must be able afford to live in London. The cost of housing creates enormous pressure on young musicians and composers who struggle with erratic and often unreliable income streams. If workforce conditions favour only the rich, our diverse and rich music heritage will suffer."
Welcoming the new London mayor, UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple said she had written to Khan to "congratulate him and offer the support of UK Music and its members."
"UK Music needs a Mayor who understands and cares about issues affecting music in London. Sadiq's Manifesto does just that," Dipple went on to say, adding, "I look forward to working with him and his team to deliver policies good enough for London, the capital of music."
According to UK Music's most recent "Wish You Were Here Report," 3.3 million tourists attended music events in the British capital city in 2014, generating £663 million ($1 billion) for the U.K. economy and helping to sustain close to 5,000 jobs. The average spend by overseas visitors attending music was estimated at £673 ($1,000).