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11 April 2016updated 09 Sep 2021 1:13pm

London’s housing crisis shows why we need a Labour Mayor

Sadiq Khan will provide homes across the capital for all Londoners.

By Sarah Hayward

There’s a housing crisis in London. Affecting, and infecting, every segment of our society.

Whether you’re a young graduate trying to take your first steps in the world of work, a couple with young children trying to settle down, or in desperate need because you’ve lost your job or are fleeing a violent partner, odds are, the housing market in London doesn’t work for you. You’ll be paying too much for too little, unable to save anything and the dream of owning your own home probably feels more distant than winning a Nobel prize or lifting the cup for your team at Wembley.

This housing crisis is the legacy of eight failed years of a Tory mayor. And the Tory government are about to make it worse. 

The Housing and Planning Bill, being considered in parliament right now, will end social rents and force working families to pay more for their home. ‘Affordable’ housing will only be available to buy and will cost up to £450,000. You’ll need a household income of nearly £100,000 to be able to access this ‘affordable’ housing. The bill could cause councils to stop building and mean more and more of London becomes unattainable for all but the wealthiest. The bill could collapse house building in London.

But we can fight this. And a Labour Mayor for London will help protect our existing housing and ensure we’re building the homes we need now and in the future. Labour-run councils like Camden are already doing what we can do tackle the housing crisis. We’re building as many homes as we can and we’re making sure that 50 per cent of them are genuinely affordable. We’re acting to tackle rogue landlords and poor standards in the private rented sector. We’re charging additional council tax on people who own homes but keep them empty in our borough.

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The Tory Housing and Planning Bill could force us to end our building programme and reconsider much of our other work to improve housing for Camdeners and Londoners. That’s why we need a Labour Mayor.

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The last Labour government gave the Mayor of London additional powers to act on housing across the capital. Boris ignored them, letting the crisis get worse and worse. Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith supports the Tories’ plans to make homes even more unaffordable, to force councils to sell homes, and effectively stop our building programmes.

Sadiq Khan’s housing plan will see us build thousands more homes and make sure we’re providing homes across the capital for all Londoners. As Mayor, Sadiq will help protect borough’s existing building programmes and use available public sector land to build thousands more homes per year. Sadiq will use the Mayor’s housing powers to improve the private rented sector, building on borough licensing schemes to make sure homes are safe and good quality.

Housing is the biggest issue faced by the vast majority of Londoners. Labour boroughs are trying to solve it. But with a Tory mayor and government this has been challenging. A Labour mayor will work with all boroughs to boost housebuilding, drive up quality and provide the homes Londoners need. 

Sarah Hayward is Leader of Camden Council and tweets @sarah_hayward