Candidates pledge to boost number of affordable homes in the capital
Housing used to woo voters in London mayor race
The Liberal Democrats have set out the most ambitious house building plans among the main candidates standing in the London mayoral election.
Brian Paddick has pledged to build 360,000 homes over the next decade - an average of 36,000 a year - as the race to become mayor hotted up this week. He said he would achieve this by releasing public land and working with private developers to attract investment on top of existing funding.
Current mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to deliver 55,000 affordable homes by 2015 in his bid to woo voters, with the Green Party’s Jenny Jones targeting 15,000 homes a year.
Only former mayor Ken Livingstone has not put a figure on the number of homes he will deliver so far - although he has pledged to make homes more affordable for people on low incomes by reintroducing social rented housing in new build developments.
Instead Mr Livingstone has concentrated his attacks on the use Mr Johnson has made of public land and rent controls in the private rented sector.
Mr Johnson is firmly against rent controls, claiming they deter investment in housing and drive down the quality of stock, while his Labour opponent is campaigning for a London ‘living rent’, under which no one pays more than one third of income in rent.
The manifestos of all four major political parties feature a number of eye-catching housing initiatives.
Mr Johnson, Mr Paddick and Ms Jones all made pledges to bring some of the 79,000 empty homes in the capital back into use. Mr Johnson promised to invest £15 million during the remainder of the current spending review period (2014/15) to tackle the issue, while Mr Paddick said he will ensure 50,000 homes are returned to use by 2022, in a 10-year commitment.
Mr Paddick said he would introduce a mayor’s kitemark of quality for private rented properties while Mr Johnson wants to launch a London rental standard to accredit 100,000 private landlords.
Mr Livingstone wants a London-wide registration scheme so tenants can check that their landlord is ‘fit and proper’.