Sadiq Khan: London mayor’s five-day USA trip cost taxpayer £35,000

“The mayor is committed to keeping costs for international visits to a bare minimum and maximising value for money.”

Sadiq Khan’s five-day trip to the United States has cost the taxpayer more than £34,263, City Hall has revealed.

The London mayor visited New York, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and San Francisco during the visit in May 2022, which saw him “bang the drum” as an international tourism destination.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request made to City Hall by the BBC found:

  • The total cost for the City Hall delegation was £34,263.93;
  • Flights cost £2,802.36;
  • Accommodation cost £9,624.09;
  • Ground transport cost £21,108.45;
  • While there were miscellaneous costs of £572.52. 

A mayoral spokesperson said: “The mayor is committed to keeping costs for international visits to a bare minimum and maximising value for money.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan has embarked on a four-day trip to America to promote London as a tourist destination. Photo: Getty

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It comes after prime minister Boris Johnson - who resigned from office last week - also visited the US in 2015 while he was mayor of London, in a visit costing taxpayers £40,000.

Mr Khan’s proportion of the cost of the May 8-12 trip was £254.76 on flights; four nights of hotel accommodation costing £794.19; and £35.51 spent on meals - totaling £1,084.46.

He was accompanied on the visit by eight officials and thirteen journalists, 11 of whom were based in the UK and two from the US.

These included the deputy mayor for business, Rajesh Agrawal; Justine Simons, deputy mayor for culture; Ali Piction, director of operations; Sarah Brown; director of communications; and Felicity Appleby, director of political and public affairs.

Mr Khan met with US figures including former secretary of state Hilary Clinton, media mogul Mike Bloomberg, major league baseball commissioner Rob Manfred; tech leaders from Google and LinkedIn, representatives of the Los Angeles police force and the city’s mayor.

London mayor Sadiq Khan visited a cannabis farm in Los Angeles. Photo: Mayor of London

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He launched campaigns and partnerships around tourism, sports and film and media, as well as speaking at Stanford University, throwing the first pitch at a San Francisco baseball game, attending the Californian Islamic Centre, and visiting a cannabis farm.

Delegates stayed at three four-star hotels during the trip, which were all recommended by the British consulates in the various US cities.

These were the Lexington Hotel New York, which cost £236.66 per person per night; the Orchard Garden Hotel San Francisco, which cost £187.41 per person per night; and the Double Tree Hilton Downtown Los Angeles, which cost £182.71 per person per night.

City Hall said US firm United Airlines supported the visit by providing flights, which taxes and fees were paid on.

This cost £254.76 each and delegates flew business class from London to New York, New York to San Francisco and LA to London, and economy class from San Francisco to LA.

Media pay their own costs but flights were covered by the arrangement with United Airlines.

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The mayor’s spokesperson added: “His most recent visit cost more than £5,000 less than the previous mayor’s trip to the US in 2015.

“Promoting London at home and abroad is a key part of the mayoralty.

“While in America, the mayor worked tirelessly to bang the drum for London and to drive the investment, trade and tourism London needs as we continue to recover from the pandemic.

“The economic value of the investment, business and tourism the trip will create will far outweigh the cost of the visit.”