City Lit Blog

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited City Lit to celebrate its 100th birthday

Story added 16th Sep 2019

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

Mayor joined by borough and business leaders to call for further devolution of funding and powers as he celebrates City Lit’s centenary.

Sadiq announces new £6.4m Skills for Londoners Innovation Fund.

Taking control of London’s share of the Adult Education Budget, Sadiq is investing in tackling inequality and exclusion. 

The Mayor of London with City Lit Principal Mark Malcomson



The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and London Councils have today called on Government to devolve more powers and funding for skills and employment to City Hall and London boroughs, as Sadiq announced a new £6.4m fund to help Londoners access learning.

As Brexit approaches and technology continues to advance, London needs to be able to respond to changing skills requirements and possible additional controls on immigration, particularly in sectors including construction and health and social care which are already facing skills shortages. 

In a document sent by the Mayor and London Councils to Ministers today and endorsed by business leaders across the capital and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Sadiq and Cllr Georgia Gould, Deputy Chair of London Councils and executive member for Skills and Employment, outline that by taking charge of more elements of the skills and education system, City Hall and London boroughs could deliver programmes in a more streamlined, impactful way.

Celebrating 100 years of adult learning at City Lit’s centenary today, the Mayor visited the Institute’s new gallery, part of a project being delivered with £480,000 from his Skills for Londoners Capital Fund to create a Design and Digital Hub and gallery space to display students’ work. City Lit estimates that since 1919 it has supported more than a million adults in learning a new skill or following a passion.

He announced a new £6.4m Skills for Londoners Innovation Fund, helping Londoners gain skills in areas such as English, maths and digital, and enabling more disabled Londoners and those who are vulnerable to serious youth violence to access learning.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is a global leader in education and skills, and as we approach Brexit, we will need to work with the further education sector to respond quickly to changing skills needs.

“Our City Hall programmes are already making a huge difference, including to the work of City Lit, whose centenary highlights how empowering learning new skills can be.

“As we take over London’s share of the Adult Education Budget I’m putting even more money back into the capital and investing in new projects to make sure all Londoners have access to the training and education they need.

“But more needs to be done, which is why I’m calling on the Government for a new funding and devolution deal to make sure we’ve got the powers and resources we need in the face of these challenges.”

Cllr Georgia Gould, Deputy Chair of London Councils and executive member for Skills and Employment said: “London is a city built on the boundless creativity, talent, and ambition of the people who live, work, and study here. But all too often, Londoners are being held back from unlocking the opportunities generated on their doorsteps by a lack of skills and available training. It’s a problem which impacts every area of people’s lives, undermining their wellbeing, trapping them in low pay, and stifling career progression. We need to change the way that we approach this challenge by focusing on individuals and creating localised, people-centred systems of support.

“London boroughs are uniquely placed to lead this task, harnessing their role as convenors of place to knit together provision and bring together partners, businesses and communities in support of shared goals. Our experience serves to show that bespoke support is best provided by those who know the people who use it. We are calling on the Government to acknowledge this reality by agreeing a significant devolution package for the capital that will enable us to work with the Mayor, employers and training providers to deliver the world-class skills and employment architecture that our city expects and deserves.”

Mark Malcomson CBE, City Lit Principal and CEO, said: “Today is a landmark moment for City Lit, showcasing 100 years of service to Londoners. Launching new facilities like our Gallery & Exhibition space underlines our importance to the fabric of London.  As we all live longer and with the pace of change in our lives ever quicker, City Lit help provide the skills, confidence and resilience for work and life that modern day Londoners from every borough and all backgrounds need to succeed and flourish. Having the Mayor outline such a call to action today emphasises the need to establish a culture of lifelong learning in the capital, to make sure London continues to prosper and remains the world-leading, vibrant and welcoming city we have always been.”

Sadiq’s call builds on the changes he has already made after successfully lobbying Ministers for control of London’s share of the Adult Education Budget. These include helping to tackle in-work poverty and exclusion by funding courses for adults earning below the London Living Wage, and funding deaf Londoners to study for a first qualification in British Sign Language.

Read the Call to Action

The Mayor of London visiting City Lit

Photographs by Michael Harding