Thursday, 24 April 2014

London transport surpluses 'should fund housing'

The London Assembly has called on the Mayor of London to use transport surpluses to fund the building of more affordable homes.

Assembly members voted yesterday by 16 votes to 9 in favour of the motion, which calls on Boris Johnson to use flexibilities over the distribution of business rates to release surpluses generated by Transport for London in order to build affordable housing.

The motion said: ‘A large new affordable home-building programme would boost jobs and growth at the same time as addressing London’s chronic shortage of affordable homes.’ The motion said 380,301 households in the capital are on London councils’ waiting lists and one in four children live in overcrowded homes.’

The motion also called for the mayor to create an advice website for private tenants, to crack down on rogue landlords and to investigate the creation of a London-wide public lettings agency.

Liberal Democrat assembly member Stephen Knight, who proposed the motion, said: ‘London needs a massive increase in the number of new affordable homes to ensure that Londoners can find a good place to live at a reasonable price, and stop them being ripped off by rogue landlords and dodgy letting agents.

‘The money is out there. Over each of the last three years alone, Transport for London’s unbudgeted surpluses have topped a quarter of a billion pounds and it is time that cash was put to work easing the housing crisis.’

Mr Johnson also presented his final draft budget for 2013/14 to the assembly yesterday, which was approved. This includes a cut in funding for affordable housing from £326.6 million to £167 million, in line with national reductions on goverment investment in housing.

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