Friday, 22 May 2015

Shelter: next London mayor must prioritise homes

The next mayor of London must make housing a priority or risk pushing people out of the capital, a charity has warned.

Shelter, the housing charity, said that high house prices would force 30 per cent of people living in London out of the city while 65 per cent of people who do not own their own home don’t think they will ever be able to afford to buy in their area of London.

The findings coincide with the launch of Shelter’s new campaign, Homes for London, which demands that the next mayor of London gives housing the same leadership and profile given to transport through Transport for London.

The charity said that a typical deposit for a London home is now almost £85,000, with the median wage just £24,500.

Average rents in London are already more than double the national average, at more than £1,300 per month for a two bedroom property.

From May 2012, the next mayor will have new powers over the future of London’s housing, including control over the housing budget and public land.

Shelter said that unless the next mayor uses the full extent of these powers to fix London’s housing crisis, growing numbers of people will be left with no choice but to abandon the capital.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘Decades of failure to build enough affordable housing has left huge swathes of Londoners locked out of homeownership, pushed into a revolving door of private let after private let.

‘Unless something is done to fix London’s housing, we’re going to see a growing exodus of people, many of them families, who have simply given up hope of ever finding a stable and affordable place to live in the capital.

‘We need the next mayor to give London’s housing the same leadership and profile that we see for transport. This means bringing together a complex web of budgets and departments into a simple, public-focused agency that can drive the change we need.

‘We want Londoners to join our campaign and challenge the mayoral candidates on how they plan to use the new powers over housing to ensure that all Londoners have decent, affordable homes.’

The National Housing Federation is also calling on the mayoral candidates to make housing a priority and has produced a manifesto with ten main points.

Among the demands are: build us somewhere to live, kick start economic growth, free up the land we need to build on and don’t let welfare reforms push Londoners into poverty.

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