And we’re off, today essentially marks the beginning of the race to be London’s next mayor with the announcement that Zac Golsdmith is the Tory candidate for next May’s election to City Hall. He will face off against the Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Sian Berry of the Greens, UKIP’s Peter Whittle and George Galloway, the Lib Dems have yet to announce their candidate.
Here’s a brief rundown of the positions of Khan and Goldsmith on housing;
Goldsmith; Age; 40. MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston since 2010. Leading proponent of environmental policies including being against the expansion of Heathrow airport. Son of anti single currency campaigner Sir James Goldsmith. To win will have to speak to a silent majority of London’s middle class replicating Johnson’s successful doughnut strategy. In a sentence; Continuity Boris Johnson, with a green twist.
Khan; Age; 45. MP for Tooting since 2005, close to Ed Miliband, running his party leadership campaign and serving as Shadow Justice Secretary. Khan would be the first Muslim mayor and was the first Muslim in the shadow cabinet. Khan’s father was a bus driver and he was brought up on a council estate. To win, Khan needs to pick up votes in places like Hendon and Golders Green and Finchley where there were swings against his party at the general election. To do so he may have to distance himself from Labour’s new national leader. In a sentence; London’s Bill De Blassio without the arguments with the police force.
Basic housing pitch
Khan; will set up a new London Homes Team out of City Hall, a London Housing Bond, Reinstate 50% affordable homes target, preference 1st time buyers in new developments and local tenants, introduce a new London Living Rent, London Letting Agency, name and shame bad landlords and lobby for more PRS tenants rights.
Goldsmith told the NHF Tory housing hustings “People are being priced out of the city, my focus will be on empty homes, rogue landlords, regeneration of 50s/60s estates, release of publicly owned Brownfield land, support for London Land commission and a greater focus on improving transport infrastructure”.
Goldsmith; At the NHF hustings some of his policy points looked strikingly similar to the IPPR City Villages report with a focus on regeneration to deliver high volume and higher quality stock. Categorically ruled out Greenbelt development, emphasis on release of publicly held land identified by the London Land Commission. Wants a pan-London investment fund that would directly finance a new generation of homes. Will keep current city hall 42,000 target with same affordable mix. Points to the Peabody regeneration of Thamesmead as a good model for regen.
Khan; New London Homes Team at City Hall –an in-house dedicated housing development team who will be charged with sorting out the financing of new homes. Will launch a London Home Bond to bring in private investment and fight for greater financial devolution to London and more freedom for boroughs to invest in more affordable homes. Would reinstate the 50% target for affordable homes as a share of all new build, and says he’ll ban the practice of “poor doors”. Will pledge to protect greenbelt in key suburbs. Has previously promoted building Garden Cities outside London.
Khan Policy heavy but similar to Livingstone’s 2012 agenda (which was not electorally successful) he’s promising to deliver a London Living rent, a third tenure in between the social and market rents, would be capped at 1/3rd of average income. He’s also committed to a London-wide not-for-profit letting agency. He’ll publish a regular list of the best and worst landlords in the capital for the power to freeze rents and for new rules to ensure that if necessary repairs are not started by landlords within a reasonable time period, tenants will be able to carry them out and deduct the cost from the rent
Goldsmith; Will line up on the side of some in the industry who highlight moves towards rent capping as likely to reduce availability. Spoke at the NHF Hustings about Genie being a good model to follow as an alternative to rent or buy and the need for greater innovation in housing options. Is supportive of Housing Associations doing more to provide market rent units.
The Housing Bill and Right to Buy
Goldsmith thinks it needs to be “knocked into shape” and has pledged to work constructively to reform. Says receipts collected in London have to stay within London and that clarity is required over how much of receipts go into Brownfield fund.
Khan will almost certainly vote against the bill with or without the RTB element in it. Has called on Goldsmith to do the same.
Goldsmith Thinks the focus should be on low cost home ownership and affordable solutions particularly in zones 1 and 2. Talks of solutions focused particularly at Ed Miliband’s “squeezed middle”, who he defines as – “people who neither qualify for housing lists nor are able to buy”.
Khan; Headline policy is to re-instate 50% affordable target on new developments but the London Homes Bond, London Housing Team along with all of his housing offer are all designed to increase affordable housing.
by Jacob Quagliozzi