It’s time for radical action to tackle London’s housing problems, argues Green Party mayoral candidate Jenny Jones
Crises are usually short, and end with a radical change. But London’s housing crisis has been worsening for at least a decade, and all Boris Johnson offers is the same inadequate promise to do more of the same – build too few homes that are too expensive.
As a London Assembly Member I’ve tried to challenge this, and in our manifesto we put forward radical solutions that get to the root of the problem. We can change the housing market from a playground for speculative investment to a source of secure, affordable homes.
A Green City Hall would set-up a London Mutual Housing Company to work with councils, housing associations and co-operatives to built at least 15,000 affordable homes per year. Rents would be capped at a genuinely affordable level, subsidised by land owned by City Hall.
Co-ops could play a much larger role. Community Land Trusts can give communities control over permanently affordable homes, and self-help organisations can bring empty homes back into use cheaply.
I believe we must protect the rights of private tenants. I will lobby for comprehensive and smart reforms of the private rented sector to bring down rents, make tenants more secure in their homes with a default secure five year tenancy agreement, protect tenants from exploitative landlords and ensure that there is across the board improvement in the condition of private rented housing. I recently secured cross party support for some of these ideas on the assembly.
Greens will also lobby for tax reforms to bring down land prices, and for an affordable housing budget that is up to the scale of the challenge.
I believe that the Green Party is the only party that recognises the depth of our housing crisis and has the ideas to turn things around. But these elections aren’t just about who’s mayor. By voting for more Greens in the London Assembly you can really make a difference.
For all our coverage of the race to be the next mayor of London see our election page. The leading candidates will all be explaining their housing policies on our website this week.