Below we are posting the entirety of Sadiq Khan’s Housing Manifesto for the vitally important election of London mayor. It is a hugely progressive step forward from the nighmare of Johnson and contrasts strongly with the policies of the Government apologist Zac Goldsmith. Anyone wanting the full Manifesto – a good read – please go here.
If I am elected Mayor, my single biggest priority will be to build thousands more homes
HOMES FOR LONDONERS
The housing crisis is the single biggest barrier to prosperity, growth and fairness facing Londoners today. I’ve found that, both as a MP, and throughout my campaign to be Mayor of London, it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking to business leaders, local residents, charities or community groups: far and away the biggest issue across the board is London’s housing crisis. The city’s shortage of decent and affordable homes is causing real misery to millions of Londoners, and damaging London’s competitiveness.
The effects are well known. People who grew up in London unable to rent or buy, parents forced to raise children in homes that are too small, and rents taking up more and more of people’s income. Homeownership is slipping increasingly out of reach for more and more Londoners, and homelessness is rising for the first time in a generation. Many Londoners now face far longer and more expensive commutes, and businesses struggle to recruit and retain the people they need to grow and prosper.
That’s why, if I am elected Mayor, my single biggest priority will be to build thousands more homes every year, for you, your family and your friends – and to give first dibs to Londoners on new homes. Our capital needs more than 50,000 new homes a year – yet the current Mayor has built barely half that number. And when they are built, too often they are not the properties that London needs. Too many are sold off-plan to overseas investors, only to sit empty, and too many are simply not affordable – a consequence of the Mayor’s failure to set a clearer target for affordable housing. Yet, rather than taking action, the Government has shifted the definition of affordable housing to include homes that cost up to £450,000 to buy, or 80 per cent of market rent.
Homes for Londoners to rent and buy
My housing priority is to get London building the homes and communities we need, with a target of half of all the new homes that are built across London being genuinely affordable to rent or buy. I’ll break the homebuilding logjam by setting up Homes for Londoners – a new and powerful team at the heart of City Hall – and building an alliance of all those with a stake in building new homes for Londoners. This will include councils, housing associations, developers, home-builders, investors, businesses, residents’ organisations – and together we will set out what we need from central government to enable us to build more homes.
Homes for Londoners will bring together all the Mayor’s housing, planning, funding, and land powers alongside new experts to raise investment, assemble land, make sure Londoners get a fair deal from developers, and commission and construct new homes.
Homes for Londoners will build the genuinely affordable homes we need, including:
- Homes for social rent, supporting councils and housing associations to build.
- Homes for London Living Rent – a new type of home for people struggling to rent privately, where rents are based on one-third of average local wages.
- Homes for first-time buyers to ‘part-buy part-rent’, where on mayoral and other public land my aim is to cut their cost and give first dibs to Londoners who have been stuck renting for over five years – especially in outer London where the biggest falls in homeownership have been seen.
- Homes to buy where we can give Londoners first dibs – building on brownfield public land and using the Mayor’s planning powers to their fullest extent.
This stands in contrast to the Conservative Government’s definition of affordable housing, which includes:
- So-called ‘Affordable Rent’ homes in which tenants pay up to 80 per cent of private market rent.
- ‘Starter homes’ to buy costing up to £450,000.
Homes for Londoners will drive up homebuilding by:
- Building new homes on land owned by the Mayor, including Transport for London land, and bidding to develop other public sector land – with a proportion of homes on the capital’s NHS sites aimed at health service workers.
- Supporting housing associations, who build 40 per cent of all London’s new homes, and who have committed to double their construction pipelines from 90,000 to 180,000 homes.
- Long-term planning for new and affordable homes tied in with new transport infrastructure, including proposals such as Docklands Light Railway extensions, the Bakerloo Line extension, and Crossrail 2.
I’ll work with boroughs to deliver on my target of half of all new homes being genuinely affordable – a target that many Labour boroughs have met in recent years despite being undermined by the Mayor. I’ll seek out new sources of investment and use planning powers effectively to raise the number of new and affordable homes London builds. I will:
- Set clear guidelines for which developments the Mayor will ‘call in’, including where planning has stalled, and where opportunities to deliver more new or affordable homes are being missed.
- Support councils to enforce clear, new rules to maximise the affordable housing in new developments, with greater transparency around viability assessments, and the option to set local affordable housing targets.
- Work with councils, housing associations and co-operatives to help them invest their land and resources effectively, including right-to-buy receipts and resources from smaller organisations.
- Using public land creatively to generate future income.
- Use City Hall as a platform to attract institutional investors, pension and other investment funds to finance homes for long-term, secure rent.
- Explore incentives for businesses to provide investment in new homes which could benefit their workforce.
I will fight Londoners’ corner, working with anyone who puts the capital first. I’ll work with the alliance of all those who want to get London building to secure the best deal for London from the national government, arguing for more devolution to London, including powers to:
- Invest more in new homes for Londoners, with prudential borrowing powers for councils to invest in new affordable housing, and the Mayor taking the lead developing public land.
- Exercise ‘use it or lose it’ powers to make sure developers who have planning permission build homes and do not land-bank.
Supporting renters and homeowners
Many Londoners want to buy a home of their own. Many others want and need social rent to live in London affordably. I will do what I can to help Londoners fulfil their aspirations. But it is also the case that more than one in four Londoners rent privately, and that the private rented sector will continue to grow.
I know from my visits across the city that more and more of Londoners are finding it increasingly difficult to find somewhere to rent that is affordable. Many face letting agency fees that are too high and property standards that are too low. Most landlords treat their tenants well – but I’m determined we will improve Londoners’ experience of private renting.
I will fight for the Mayor and London councils to have a greater say in strengthening renters’ rights over tenancy lengths, rent rises, and the quality of accommodation. I’ll work with councils, landlords, tenants, and business to improve the private rented sector for both renters and for good landlords by:
- Setting up a London-wide not-for-profit lettings agency for good landlords, building on the work that councils have started, and ending rip-off fees for renters.
- Working alongside boroughs to promote landlord licensing schemes to drive up standards, and make the case to government for London-wide landlord licensing.
- Naming and shaming rogue landlords and ensure tenants have access to this information online.
Alongside a modernised private rented sector, London needs to protect its social housing as a vital asset. I am opposed to the Government’s plans to raise rents for working families and to force the sell off of council homes to highest bidder, which will lead to a hollowing out of the capital, damaging our social mix. London boroughs and housing associations should be investing money from the right-to-buy and other sources in new social housing in the local area and other genuinely affordable homes in London. That’s why I oppose the Government’s plans and why I’ll fight to protect Londoners from the worst effects of their policies. I will:
- Work with housing associations to keep their rents down, and help councils to protect tenants unable to afford rents up to market rates under ‘pay-to-stay’ rules if they go ahead.
- Require that estate regeneration only takes place where there is resident support, based on full and transparent consultation, and that demolition is only permitted where it does not result in a loss of social housing, or where other all options have been exhausted, with full rights to return for displaced tenants and a fair deal for leaseholders.
Many Londoners already own their own homes but some struggle to meet their housing costs and maintain their property as they would wish. I want to support existing homeowners through measures including:
- Investment in older homes to make them more energy-efficient as part of the ‘100 per cent London’ campaign to switch London over to clean energy.
- Working with London boroughs to ensure leaseholders can access high-quality advice on service charges and leasehold extension.
Rough-sleeping has doubled in the last five years, and the number of homeless children living in temporary accommodation has risen by a quarter in the last three years. I’m determined to tackle the scourge of homelessness. I will:
- Set up a ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ initiative – a London-wide taskforce to oversee the implementation of the Mayor’s rough sleeping work and funding priorities.
- Focus on help for young people facing homelessness, who are increasingly caught in a trap as they struggle to find somewhere to move on to, including prevention measures such as family mediation and steps to help young people into work.
- Co-ordinate councils’ efforts to find stable private rented housing for those in need who are not able to move into social housing, instead of desperate boroughs being forced to outbid each other for homes from landlords.
Planning for the Future
As London’s population grows it is vital that we look at developing new forms of housing to meet the future needs of the capital, such as community land trusts, co-housing, and housing which allows older Londoners to downsize. It is important that we do more to protect the character of London’s communities while delivering the new and affordable homes we need to cope with a rising population. I will put good design and sustainability at the heart of the London Plan. I will:
- Amend the London Plan to give greater protection for residents affected by large-scale basement excavation works, and include stronger policies to ensure tall buildings respect the character of existing neighbourhoods.
- Support ‘tenure-blind’ development, avoiding the use of ‘poor doors’, so that the access and communal areas for affordable housing are indistinguishable from those serving other homes.
- Protect the greenbelt, green spaces and play spaces, prioritising development on brownfield sites, and developing appropriate design principles to build up areas around town centres across the capital.
- Support councils in bringing empty homes back into use, using compulsory purchase orders where necessary, and developing planning rules to control ‘buy-to-leave’.
- Retain in the London Plan targets for all new homes to meet Lifetime Homes standards and 10 per cent of new homes to be wheelchair accessible.
- Improve planning and design policies to offer older Londoners more choice, whether they are active older people, downsizers or in need of specialist and extra care homes, and by making it easier for owner-occupiers to adapt their homes when they want others, including carers and lodgers, to live with them.