London's ethnic minorities are likely to be the single biggest influence at the ballot. Improving their opportunities will be one of the greatest challenges for the winner. 'These elections have been historic because all the candidates have finally realised they can't win without reaching out for our vote. In other elections they didn't even look to find out where we were,' said Simon Wooley, of the Operation Black Vote coalition. London is said to be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, with non-white ethnic minorities making up 20 per cent of the population and a further 10 per cent comprising whites born outside the UK. A survey of school students found at least 25 per cent spoke a language other than English at home. 'The number of people coming from Afro-Caribbean, Asian or Chinese backgrounds is rising steadily and these various communities are beginning to believe in themselves and make their voices heard,' Mr Wooley said. 'This is a dynamic city that is much more culturally diverse than any other city in the world because of the number of different races that live here, but there is a lot of institutionalised racism and the new mayor will have to work to wipe that out.' All main candidates have agreed to an annual report on race equality and to allow representatives from the ethnic minorities to review any major policy changes to ensure they do not discriminate. 'Undoubtedly what marks London out from other major cities is the numbers of different people living here, most of whom rub alongside one another and work together pretty well,' said Dr Mark Kleinman, a senior lecturer in social policy at London University. 'Other cities such as Paris and New York have large groups from ethnic minorities, but they mostly live in separate ghettos. In London the mixture is far greater and people are less segregated.' A poll carried out by the Voice, a black weekly newspaper, found black voters were more concerned about livelihood issues compared to whites, whose votes rested on environment and transport schemes.