Addressing the audience at a conference on social integration in London attended by mayors from across Europe and the deputy mayor of New York, London mayor, Sadiq Khan, urged that city leaders across the world should “build bridges instead of walls” in reference to the promise of U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump to build a wall at its south border with Mexico.
Khan highlighted that a lack of social integration in the UK was costing the economy about £6bn and explained that uniting communities could boost economic growth. Khan stressed that pretending there was no problem with a lack of integration “for fear of losing the argument to the divisive political forces gaining pace in many countries across Europe and the world” simply would not work. He pointed out that “we have seen major political upheaval around the world in recent months, with the EU referendum here in the UK and the presidential election in the US,” adding that “this has shown how politics is becoming more and more polarised with whole communities in cities across the world feeling increasingly disconnected and estranged from national politics. That’s why now, more than ever, we need to build a strong sense of social solidarity within our cities – a renewed sense that we are united as neighbours and citizens.”