Search

Sian Berry: Help renters by closing ‘dangerous’ affordable housing loophole

PUBLISHED: 09:16 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:17 07 December 2017

Sian Berry AM is calling on London mayor Sadiq Khan to close an 'affordable' housing loophole hitting renters. Picture: GREEN PARTY

Sian Berry AM is calling on London mayor Sadiq Khan to close an 'affordable' housing loophole hitting renters. Picture: GREEN PARTY

Archant

Green Party representative at the London Assembly and Highgate councillor Sian Berry responds to mayor Sadiq Khan’s housing plans.

The Mayor of London’s new draft housing strategy and London Plan are out, but I’m worried he’s leaving in a loophole that will mean so-called ‘affordable’ homes at up to 80 per cent of market rates will still be the crumbs offered to Londoners by developers.

The assessment of housing need that came out with the draft plan shows that in total across London 65pc of the new homes need to be at low cost social or intermediate rents.

Under Boris Johnson, the intermediate definition of ‘affordable’ was notorious for representing almost all the lower cost homes built under planning agreements, and for being nowhere near the rent the average person could pay.

In theory this amount of rent - over £1,500 per month in Camden - is affordable to a household earning £60,000 a year, but that assumes two full-time salaries, and many more renting households are now young families including single parents, and a growing number of pensioners.

I recently went to the launch of a report from Age UK London on the plight of older renters. Called ‘Living in Fear’ it estimates that the number of private-renters in London aged 65 and over could double between 2014 and 2039. They suffer badly from poor quality, cold homes, rising costs and most of all want secure tenancies with low rent inflation guaranteed.

Yet, while he’s funding a small number of homes at a better definition - the London Living Rent defined as a third of average wages in an area - the Mayor is not seeking rent control powers from Government, and his housing strategy still says, “All intermediate rented homes should provide at least a 20pc discount on market rents.”

Both the strategy and the London Plan have in their glossaries the Government-approved definition of affordable as “not more than 80pc of market rates.”

It will be desperately concerning for renters to see this dangerous loophole carry on with Sadiq Khan.

As a London Assembly Member, I’ll be responding to the draft strategy this week asking him to make the case to Government that, with average rents in London more than double the rest of the country, we need to be given more control over how ‘affordable’ is defined.

Without more effort to change things, developers will always opt for the least costly option for them. Londoners can’t afford these homes and they can’t afford to be failed on housing by two Mayors in a row.

There’s still time to change the London Plan and I hope everyone in Camden who is suffering from the lack of a truly affordable home will respond to the Mayor before the consultation ends in March.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 15:26

South Hampstead Junior School pupils have marked 60 years since the school moved into its own separate site at 12 Netherhall Gardens in 1957.

Yesterday, 12:51

Plans to restore a Grade II*-listed building which saw 600 objections from the community have been given the go ahead by Haringey Council planning chiefs.

Yesterday, 10:31

King’s Cross was once a hotspot for crack cocaine and prostitution – now an independent study (albeit one commissioned by a developer) has concluded that flattening and rebuilding it has been good for the area.

Yesterday, 09:31

A junior school teacher has featured on Channel 4 TV show ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’ coming runner up in a yuletide cake decorating competition.

Mon, 13:34

Camden Council is set to increase council tax next year by nearly five per cent.

Mon, 10:58

Jailed mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘can see some light’ at the end of the tunnel after she avoided being dragged back to court following a visit by foreign secretary Boris Johnson to her family in Iran.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Weather warnings have been issued across London following heavy snowfall overnight and this morning.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A man in his 60s has died after a fire at a ground floor flat in Alexandra Place, St John’s Wood this morning.

PROMOTED CONTENT

One of London’s most popular animal welfare charities rolled out the red carpet for glamorous guests and their beloved pet dogs as their annual fundraiser returned.

An opportunity of a lifetime has arisen for media-savvy students at City of Westminster College and the College of North West London.

Education editor James Scott speaks to Sarah Creasey about life as headteacher of Parliament Hill School.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now