Which 2016 London mayoral hopeful will help you onto the housing ladder?
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Tackling London’s housing crisis is a key policy for each of the major parties’ mayoral candidates. None of these are set in stone yet so watch this space for updates
Green - Sian Berry
Camden Green councillor Sian Berry has protested against international property investment, favours a community-led approach to planning and design and is strongly opposed to “social cleansing”.
Londoners will be given control of masterplans and conditions for planned development. Berry also supports the temporary takeover of empty buildings awaiting development for use as community hubs, homeless shelters and other creative purposes as well as building new homes more densely in central London on small brownfield sites. She opposes buy to leave.
Berry opposes estate demolition and will instead provide expertise and grants to support communities in redeveloping sites themselves as community homes bodies. This is based on similar schemes, which have been successfully implemented in Cornwall.
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A private tenant herself (she rents a studio flat in Tufnell Park), Berry is keen to offer greater stability for people in the private rental sector by capping rent rises via an amendment to the Cities Bill and offering more secure tenure. A landlord register will also be introduced to improve the quality of rental stock.
Conservative - Zac Goldsmith
Conservative hopeful and ardent environmentalist Zac Goldsmith has pledged millions of pounds to invest in solar panels on blocks of flats and schools should he be elected. He also wants to demolish or update “ugly” post-War council estates.
Help to Buy was extended in the Autumn Statement with the government’s loan for first time buyers doubled to 40 per cent of the sale price, which has an increased cap in the capital. Although not a specific mayoral policy, this was widely seen as George Osborne’s gift to the Tory candidate. Goldsmith also proposed that homes built on mayoral land should be offered in the first year exclusively to first time buyers who have lived in the capital for at least three years
Goldsmith’s major amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill currently making its way through Parliament is to insist that each vacant council house forcibly sold in London must be replaced by two new “affordable” homes, to provide 10,000 additional “affordable” properties on top of the 50,000 already identified.
Goldsmith has opposed the lower limit at which social renters will have to ‘pay to stay’, pointing out that a household income of £40,000 is not actually that much in the capital. He has also suggested that in such areas as Westminster, rents should be no higher than a third of incomes.
Labour - Sadiq Khan
The MP for Tooting, Labour candidate Sadiq Khan wants to set up a new team in City Hall to fast-track home building.
First time buyers and local tenants will be given priority to buy new build property in an attempt to curb ‘buy to leave’ and advance sales to foreign investors. Funding for additional building will come from London Home bonds and pension funds.
There will be a 50 per cent affordable housing target for new developments. Khan says he will use an existing £400million affordable homes budget to support housing associations to build a minimum of 80,000 homes each year, predominantly on land owned by public bodies such as TfL.
Khan will to introduce a London Living Rent, with prices set at a third of average local income, rather than reductions based on market rents. Khan also plans to found a London-wide not-for-profit lettings agency, which would promote longer tenancies, as well as extending landlord licensing schemes in boroughs to promote good landlords and name and shame bad ones.
Liberal Democrat - Caroline Pidgeon
With previous experience as the deputy chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon plans to build more to keep homes in all sectors affordable.
Pidgeon plans to retain the Olympic Precept (the additional 38p per week, or £20 per year Londoners have been paying in their council tax), which raises £50-60million a year. She will convert this into a ‘Housing Precept’, which could be borrowed against to raise between £1.5 and £2billion. With this money, Pidgeon says public sector land could be used to build tens of thousands of private sale homes.
Schemes such as rent-to-buy will be retained or extended to help people to afford to remain living in the capital.
Pidgeon would use funds from the Housing Precept to build 50,000 new council homes and thousands of private rental homes.