Mayoral race 2016: Homes for Londoners is the key to solving the housing crisis, claims Tessa Jowell

Tessa Jowell
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Our housing crisis is the single biggest problem that London faces (Source: Getty)

London’s housing crisis isn't just a problem for the hundreds of thousands in temporary accommodation or stuck on housing waiting lists, or the young people unable to afford a deposit or exploited by rogue landlords. It’s a problem for our whole city.

For London to continue to thrive we have remain an attractive proposition for the talent and investment we seek to attract. The housing crisis is bad for business, and bad for London's economy, because young people and the low paid increasingly find London unaffordable.

Only with the public sector supplementing private developers will London stand a chance of building the homes we need. Today, developers are making up to £135,000 in profit for every home they build. Transport for London owns almost 6,000 acres of land – around the size of Camden, which itself is home to 100,000 households.

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What these three facts have in common is that they demonstrate the true potential of Homes for Londoners.

Our housing crisis is the single biggest problem that London faces, and to replace years of speeches and grand proposals, I propose something radically different. I propose to fix it - a little less conversation, a little more action.

So if I am elected, on day one of my mayoralty I will establish Homes for Londoners, a world class agency based in City Hall to get London building again.

Taking direct control of the enormous house building programme our city so desperately needs will give Homes for Londoners two huge advantages over everything that has gone before.

Firstly – we won’t need to feed the developers enormous profits and compromise on social and affordable housing to get homes built. Through Homes for Londoners we can use the delivery partner model that helped build the Olympic village – now East Village and voted one of the best places to live in London - putting Londoners in charge, not developers.

Read more: Bypassing bureaucrats is the key to London's housing crisis

That means the City can decide the social mix of developments and we can use the profits to reinvest in social and affordable housing. Londoners will be setting the rules of the game in the interests of the city.

And second we can start on the Mayor’s own land. Through TfL the Mayor owns enough land to fill the entire London borough of Camden – home to more than 240,000 people. We should be building on it wherever we can.

Through Homes for Londoners we will have everything we need to start finally getting on top of London’s housing crisis and begin building the homes we need. We have the land, we have the model and we can attract the expertise. In fact with a truly word class team Homes for Londoners can be a source of expertise on master-planning and project management to the benefit of London's 32 boroughs as they seek to develop their own house building projects.

London’s housing crisis needs fresh thinking and bold leadership. But Londoners need more than that – they need a mayor who can deliver, and from Sure Start to the Olympics Londoners know I've got the experience and expertise to make things happen.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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