With the upcoming London elections on May 5th, there is set to be a lot of changes to London’s housing, the sort of which depends on who is ultimately elected as leader next month. Property has found itself at the center of much of the debate involving the two candidates, Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan. This is not surprising considering the housing shortage that London faces and the fact that the knock on effects of poor or insecure housing is impacting massively on the lives of those throughout the capital. So what do the two candidates stand for when it comes to housing. Let’s take a look:
Zac Goldsmith, Conservative
Goldsmith, has stated that for every council house sold he wants to build in its place two affordable new homes, this is a clear attempt to close the gap between supply and demand.
He has also pledged to double the current rate of home building, to 50,000 a year by the end of his first mayoral term. Perhaps, his most surprising yet potentially impact-full pledge has been to stamp down on the buying up of property by foreign investors, who often leave said dwellings empty. If elected Mayor he has promised to set a simple rule whereby any homes built on mayoral land – as many as 30,000 – will only be sold to Londoners – people who have lived or worked in London for at least three years and don’t already own a home. The “Londoners First” rule will be in force for the entire first year that the houses are on sale.
In order to build more homes that are desirable to city based workers, Goldsmith plans to build new transport links to unlock the brownfield sites where the homes will be built.
Sadiq Khan, Labour
Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate also has ambitious plans for London’s homes. This includes a 50% affordable housing target. He will work with developers to make sure the homes really are affordable. He has also said that new homes will be built on the city’s many brownfield sites, protecting the Green Belt; ensure that Londoners are given priority for new homes over overseas investor. He wants to introduce what’s known as the London Living Rent homes, which would set rents to a third of the local average wage.
The choice is up to the people of London, as to who will become the next mayor, one thing is guaranteed that should either candidate stick to their promises there maybe a turning point in the quest to build more affordable homes in the capital.
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