With the 6 May mayor of London election now just weeks away, City A.M. is producing a four-piece series on where the four leading candidates stand on different issues. Today, we look at the housing policies of the candidates from Labour, the Conservatives, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats.
The most high profile housing policy from Labour mayor Sadiq Khan in the 2021 election is a call for rent controls to be imposed in London – a power held by central government.
Khan says that if he wins the election it will mean there is a mandate for the government to give him the powers to cap rents through a City Hall “private rental commission”.
He has set a target of building 10,000 new council homes as a part of his wider target to build 122,000 affordable homes between 2016 and 2023.
The mayor has also said he will set up a new City Hall-owned property developer to carry out the rest of his housebuilding programme – a policy popular among all the candidates.
His manifesto also pledged to investigate whether to create a “right to buy back fund”, which would see councils able to buy back homes previously sold through the right to buy scheme.
He has also warned that he would “not apologise” if he is forced to raise council taxes in a potential second term to help pay for Transport for London (TfL).
Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey has also pledged to create a City Hall owned property developer – Housing for London (HfL) – if victorious next month.
Bailey said the new developer would “streamline housebuilding in London and tackle the housing crisis head-on by bringing together policymakers, with industry and borough leaders”.
The Tory London Assembly member has also pledged to build 100,000 shared ownership homes that would be sold for £100,000 each.
People would then be able to pay £5,000 each to buy shares in the new properties.
Green Party candidate Sian Berry has also said she would lobby the government to get powers to impose rent controls if she wins the election next month.
Berry, a long-time advocate for caps on rent, is also calling for all renters in London to be able to keep pets.
She also says that she will lobby the government to cancel the right-to-buy scheme in London to ensure council housing stocks are not depleted.
The Green Party co-leader has also pledged to use more of the the mayor’s £4.8bn affordable housing budget to build council houses and social housing than Khan, however no target is given.
One of Luisa Porritt’s showpiece policies is a pledge to convert empty office space in Central London post-Covid into affordable housing if she wins.
The Liberal Democrat candidate says that “home working is here to stay” and that the capital should follow the example of Dutch city Rotterdam to get more people living in Central London.
She is also pledging to set up a City Hall-run property developer.
Porritt says the developer would be tasked with “bringing empty homes back into use, maximising the use of public land, and raising revenue to build sites of its own”.
She has also pledged to freeze out any property developer that has not taken action on removing unsafe cladding from City Hall contracts.