Hampstead & Kilburn hopefuls on housing: your parliamentary candidate’s views
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As an all female lineup of parliamentary candidates go head to head on property, we ask hopeful MPs what their promises are on alleviating the housing crisis, help for first time buyers, and sorting out the private rental sector
In just under a month’s time, the UK will go back to the ballot box for yet another political vote. In an all female line up, incumbent Labour MP Tulip Siddiq will be challenged by Kirsty Allan for the Liberal Democrats and Claire-Louise Leyland for the Conservatives for the Hampstead & Kilburn parliamentary seat. So how does each of the candidates propose to solve the housing crisis for first time buyers and rid the private rental sector of turbulence and woe?
Tulip Siddiq, Labour
- Prioritise affordable homes
- First refusal to local residents
- Stand up for tenants
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Incumbent MP Tulip Siddiq won by a majority of 1,138 voters in the 2015 general election and has voted on several housing bills in the past. She voted against requiring those on high incomes living in social housing to pay market rents; against funding right to buy style discounts for housing association tenants, and against giving the Secretary of State power to require local councils to sell expensive properties. In January 2016, she also voted to retain secure tenancies for life.
Siddiq said of her future promises for helping first time buyers to get on the property ladder: “The absolute priority has to be to increase the supply of affordable homes. I have been campaigning with London Mayor Sadiq Khan on this issue for years, and I will continue to work with him to help first time buyers.
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“Young families are being pushed out of our area, and current rules favour overseas investors over local people. I therefore support the Labour mayor’s policy to offer local residents first refusal on any new homes built on public land, which will tip the balance in favour of local residents.”
On posing solutions to problems in the private rental sector, the MP said: “Most landlords provide decent homes, but some are making families’ lives a misery. In my two years as an MP nearly one third of my casework has focussed on overcrowding and uninhabitable properties. I will stand up for tenants by demanding clear, enforceable legal minimum standards so that no renter has to suffer problems like unsafe wiring, damp, and serious vermin infestations.
“A very familiar problem in Hampstead and Kilburn is the soaring cost of rent. To ensure young professionals and families don’t feel compelled to move elsewhere, urgent attention needs to be given to increasing the supply of affordable homes, which will help start to bring down rents in our area.”
Kirsty Allan, Liberal Democrats
- Affordable homes for all
- 200,000 new homes a year
- Reform the private rental sector
Chosen some months ago, Allan ran in Westminster North in 2015 and came fourth, placing behind UKIP.
The PR is now turning her hand to politics having previously worked for Norman Lamb when he ran for leader in 2015. Fifth on Allan’s election leaflet distributed to homes in the area is the issue of new homes; she promises to ‘increase provision of social housing and hold the council to account on their poor record of building.’
Speaking to the Ham & High, Kirsty said: “The housing crisis is having an appalling impact on people both locally and across the country. For too many, having a decent place to live is getting further and further out of reach.
“That’s why the Liberal Democrats are committed to providing affordable homes to all, with a plan to build more than 200,000 new homes a year in London alone. This means working with housing associations and the local council right here in Camden to increase access to finance, while making sure we’re using all available resources to support those most in need.
“This also means radically reforming the private rented sector, making it more affordable while taking action against rogue landlords who exploit renters.”
Claire-Louise Leyland, Conservatives
- Support the Help to Buy ISA
- Support economic progress to build more homes
- Ban agent fees
Camden Council’s Conservative leader of the opposition will aim to win back the constituency, which has been Labour since 1992 and is one of the most marginal seats in the UK. Housing doesn’t feature in the art therapist’s top five pledges for Hampstead and Kilburn according to her leaflets handed out in the local area, but speaking to the Ham & High, the parliamentary hopeful gave her full attention to housing.
“Housing is London is a really worry for many people, especially young people wanting to get on the ladder. London Help to Buy means Londoners can now buy a new build home with a five per cent deposit and a five year interest-free loan of up to 40 per cent of the property price.
“Also, the Help to Buy: ISA gives people a 25 per cent boost to their savings, up to a maximum of £3,000. But we need to continue to build on these positive steps and a strong economy is the only way to do this.”
The parliamentary candidate is focussed on house building to ensure supply meets demand: “Housebuilding has increased, after it fell to its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s and in London, there were an additional 30,390 new homes in 2015/16 and 148,540 new homes since 2010/11. It’s so important that we lock in the economic progress we have made together, because it means that even more homes will get built, and more people can get secure housing they can afford.”
On the private rental sector, Ms Leyland praised new efforts to tackle rogue landlords and provide a better deal for tenants: “Having rented a property in London for many years, I’m pleased that Conservatives have set out new measures to provide a fairer deal for renters, by banning unfair letting agent fees and encouraging greater competition in the rental sector.
“The proposed measures will stop hidden charges and end tenants being hit by costly upfront payments that can be difficult to afford. The Labour Party’s latest proposals would mean blanket licensing across councils, even if the local area has no problems or complaints. Targeted action against the small minority of rogue landlords, means that we don’t have to hit every single home with expensive municipal red tape that will force up costs and reduce supply.”