Sunday, 29 May 2016

Livingstone plans pension fund investment for London homes

Ken Livingstone has pledged to use pension funds to build more social housing in London if he wins his bid to be elected as mayor of London.

Mr Livingstone is understood to be in talks with local authorities over a scheme to pool their money and invest directly in social housing, getting a better return on their investment by forgoing management fees.

The Labour candidate claimed institutional investment was the solution to a virtual ban on building new council houses during a debate in Westminster on Wednesday night with Conservative candidate Boris Johnson, Green candidate Jenny Jones and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick.

During the debate, organized by the Evening Standard and chaired by Clive Anderson, Mr Livingstone attacked successive governments for not building more council housing.

He said: ‘Apart from the Iraq war my biggest disagreement with Tony Blair was he carried on Thatcher’s ban on building council housing. I’ll go to the pension funds and get them to invest in building housing until we can get a government that is prepared to invest.’

Mr Livingstone also attacked Boris Johnson for the large rises in private rents in the capital. He added: ‘You don’t want a mayor who has stood by and done nothing while the private rented sector has become the most disgraceful rip off, with people paying a majority of their income to landlords. You want a mayor who is going to campaign to make this a fairer city.’

Mr Johnson defended his record on social housing, saying the 52,000 affordable homes built in the last four years was a record for one mayoral term. He also committed to building a further 55,000 affordable homes between 2011-2015, 42 per cent of which would be family homes.

Brian Paddick was the only candidate to mention housing in his opening speech, highlighting the high cost of private rents in London. He later pledged to build 360,000 new homes, half of which could be social housing, on brownfield sites to ‘tackle the housing market overheating’.

The strongest criticism of the state of social housing came from independent candidate Siobhan Benita. She was excluded from the panel, but later told Inside Housing: ‘What you’re finding is that day to day Londoners cannot afford to buy a home anymore and increasingly cannot afford to rent in London anymore. We need a mayor who takes this seriously, it’s one of the biggest issues in London and they [the main candidates] are paying lip service to it at the moment and it’s not enough.’

Readers' comments (5)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



  • £70m pension fund deal for Rent to Buy

    20 April 2016

    A for-profit housing company has secured £70m from a pension fund to build 580 Rent to Buy homes that will be leased to social landlords.

  • Fund launches UK PRS investment arm

    13 January 2016

    A US-based real estate fund has made its first two acquisitions in the UK’s private rented sector as part of a plan to invest £500m in build-to-rent schemes.

  • Sheffield to push for housing investment fund

    6 October 2015

    The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will receive a swathe of planning powers under a proposed devolution deal and will push for the ability to create a housing investment fund.

  • Investment enables offices to homes conversion

    26 August 2015

    A Bristol community group set up to convert empty office buildings into affordable housing has secured a £425,000 mortgage to fund its first scheme.

  • Landlords may move towards 'less generous' pension plans

    28 July 2015

    Housing associations are likely to move more staff onto less generous retirement plans as a result of the latest increase in contributions to the sector’s pension scheme.  

IH Subscription