London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey has launched plans to create a City Hall-controlled homebuilder called ‘Housing for London’ to clear London’s multi-generational housing backlog.
Housing for London aims to fix the backlog by taking control of the building process, as was done in previous eras, most notably during the post-WW2 period. This control will be exercised using powers already in the Mayor’s possession.
Bailey, who is the Conservative Party candidate, said that the Mayor will even be able to direct the building of homes for high-priority groups like the police, teachers and young Londoners.
He said: “Unaffordable housing is the defining problem of our generation. Brexit is a cakewalk compared with London’s housing problems. Brexit will come and go, and London’s housing problems will remain.
“London’s outrageous cost of living – fueled by the cost of housing – is a black mark on the city and it is holding us back.
“If we want people to stay in London or come here to prosper we need to have enough homes for people to live in.
“Without adequate housing “London is open” is just a slogan because London’s opportunity will be closed to too many. We have to have the courage to build and lower the cost of housing and rent. This will ease the burden on Londoners.
“That the people who make London work on a daily basis can’t afford a home in London is a disgrace. Any politician promising more of the same on housing – and then delivering even less, like Sadiq Khan – won’t work.
“It will only set us back again, something the vast majority of Londoners literally cannot afford. We mustn’t try to fool Londoners again with bogus targets reliant on a broken system. It’s time for an entirely new approach: a big bang on housing.
“Housing for London will deliver the homes London needs, when and where Londoners need them. Housing for London will do the job the private sector, egged on by the public sector, has failed to do now for generations.”
Housing for London will be formed as an advisory and consultative body directly answerable to the Mayor whose primary purpose will be to identify the best sites for development in London in order to create thriving new communities.
The Mayor will use Mayoral Development Corporations (MDCs) under the Localism Act 2011 to develop each identified site in partnership with the relevant borough councils.
The sites will be filled with the housing stock needed in the local area and will be built to satisfy demand, not profit. A Bailey mayoralty would seek to establish a minimum of 20 MDCs across London to take proper control of the housing agenda.
Housing for London will prioritise building on the sites already controlled by public bodies in London, including brownfield land, Transport for London sites, and other government land.
It is anticipated this competition in building will prompt the private sector to curtail land banking and deliver more homes.
Marc von Grundherr, director of lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves, added: “Great news today, that it seems at least one politician has given serious thought about addressing London’s housing crisis and building the homes that our current Mayor promised but has so far failed miserably on delivering.
“The housing deficit in the capital is stark and of late seems to have risen further, pushing the dream of home-ownership and even affordable rentals further away from Londoners.
“Any scheme that helps turn the issue of broken housing supply around is something to be applauded.”