Q: Housing is surely going to be of prime concern to many voters in the coming months/years. It seems to me that one of the reasons we didn’t do better in May’s elections was that Labour capitalised on that dissastisfaction.
A: You are quite correct that housing is a crucial issue for London and Londoners. The quality of social housing in London has improved in recent years, but the quantity is far too small to meet Londoners’ needs. Despite Labour rhetoric, they have failed to deliver.
I would like to see social housing providers able to borrow against future rental income to generate capital to provide new homes; I support active measures to bring empty buildings into use as homes; and an imaginative approach to planning, like the examples in my own borough of providing new homes above or alongside rebuilt schools.
I’m also strongly in favour of devolving day-to-day management and maintenance of estates to tenants and residents wherever possible, through Housing Co-Ops, Tenant Management Organisations or Community Housing Associations.
Making London a truly sustainable city is a priority for me, so having greener, more energy efficient buildings is essential, as is making best use of existing buildings.
We need strong voices to make the case for London to government on policies like housing benefit where our city has special needs. And we need to act against the house price inflation that has caused crises in individual families as well as the national economy.
These are all areas where Assembly members have a crucial role in scrutinising the Mayor’s planning policies & housing strategy, as well as conducting enquiries into the impact of national policy on London’s housing market.