Check out this Youtube clip of London Assembly member and Labour Housing lead, Tom Copley, putting forward the alternative to do nothing, market knows best, Tory Mayor, Boris Johnson. Tom will be the guest speaker at my branch AGM (Greater London UNISON Housing Association).
Yesterday I presented a range of proposals to the Mayor aimed at addressing London's housing crisis as part of City Hall Labour's alternative budget.
The plans are drawn from a report that I published this week, Fair Housing, which followed a survey of nearly 2,500 Londoners. The survey reveals that 43% of Londoners spend between 25-50% of their take home pay on housing, and that 23% spend over 50% of their take home pay on housing.
Our proposals include:
- Establishing a London Housing Corporation, which would borrow against the GLA’s revenue stream to rapidly expand housing supply by directly commissioning new homes, and encourage institutional investment from pension funds
- Driving forward housing supply by reorganising the work of the GLA Land and Housing Directorate into a new body called Homes for London
- Creating a ‘Decent Homes Fund’ that provides low-cost loans for landlords to bring London’s stock of privately rented accommodation up to a decent standard.
- Establishing a ‘London Bad Landlords Register’ and a private tenants ‘Know Your Rights’ website
- Lobbying the government to increase investment in affordable housing.
Several of these measures were formally passed by the Assembly as part of a cross-party budget amendment. The Mayor will have to come back to us in February responding to each of our proposals and explaining why he either agrees or disagrees with them. If he rejects the proposals the Assembly will require a two thirds majority vote to force them through.
Over the coming months I shall be working up detailed proposals for exactly how Homes for London and the London Housing Corporation would work and the volume of housing that could be delivered across all tenures. What is absolutely clear is that unless the Mayor adopts a far more interventionist approach, we are not going to solve London's housing crisis any time soon.
The Mayor has the power to act. The question is whether he is willing to do so.
Tom Copley AM
Labour London Assembly Member (Londonwide)
City Hall Labour Housing Spokesperson