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Housing campaigner runs for London Mayor

Victorious housing campaigner Lindsey Garrett from the New Era Estate in Hackney is taking on Labour and the Conservatives for the Mayoralty of London, promising a new era for the city.

Garrett lead a tenants’ campaign last year after US investors Westbrook Partners bought the New Era estate in Hoxton and announced it would double previously affordable rents to market rates. The move prompted widespread condemnation and accusations of social cleansing. Westbrook Partners eventually backed down and sold the estate to an affordable housing provider.

Garrett’s political agenda focuses on housing rights, but in her draft manifesto she calls for a range of measures which she claims will fundamentally change who London is governed for and aims to deliver a city that nurtures its people.


Garrett calls on Londoners to give her a mandate for:

  • Rent control and a mandatory London Living Wage.
  • Public housing funded by a tax on private sector landlords' rental incomes.
  • Devolution on a par with Scotland, votes at 16 and electoral reform for councils, abolishing 33 authorities in favour of five super-boroughs.
  • Bringing the Corporation of London under the writ of Parliament.
  • Approval of Heathrow expansion.
  • A single, integrated NHS for London.
  • An education system that gives young Londoners a head start and helps people throughout their careers.
  • A city tax on hotel stays funding free and discount cultural access for all Londoners.
  • World class policing and a crackdown on crimes against vulnerable people.
  • Zero tolerance on police attitudes that undermine public trust
  • An orbital economy to reduce commuting and mass river transport. A mission to "green" the London economy.

Read Garrett’s draft manifesto here.

She said: "This is the city I want to live in; a city that serves its people rather than bleeding them dry. With Labour opposed to both rent controls and building enough homes and the Conservative Party set to decimate housing associations, someone needs to stand up for Londoners, and it looks like that will have to be me.”

Garrett is part of new political party Something New. Earlier this week Generation Rent announced that Alex Hilton he was stepping down as director and he later announced on Twitter that he was joining Something New.

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  • icon

    Oh dear! The trouble with these extreme left wing policies on rent control and taxing landlords is that they don't work. In fact they will have exactly the opposite effect. It's simple economics. How ironic that someone who wants to reform education is so poorly educated in economics. Actually maybe that's not ironic at all. It's just proof that the education system is indeed failing.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    What's your expert opinion then? All very well having a go at her - at least she's trying to make a difference.

    You obviously think everything in the property industry is rosy. What about empty homes, what about demand massively outstripping supply, what about tenant evictions, what about rogue landlords, what about the increasingly crowded and overpriced PRS. This can't all be a leftie conspiracy, can it?

    And rent controls work perfectly well in other European countries. Obviously excessive red tape is not needed, but a sensible, mature approach to rental regulation shouldn't just be dismissed out of hand. Unless you can up with some viable alternatives?

    Free market doesn't mean a free-for-all where rich people screw over poor people.

  • icon

    I'm certainly not saying everything is rosy. My point is that well meaning intentions to improve the lot of the private renter in London through rent controls will actually make it worse. This has been shown to be the case before. Look at what happened to the supply of rented housing in the 50s and 60s. Rent controls completely destroyed the private rental market. It is true that rent controls work in other parts of Europe, but only where there is no imbalance of supply and demand. In Germany they haven't had any significant house price or rent inflation since the 60s. That's because they build enough houses.
    As it happens I do have a solution. It is to encourage new supply by making the provision of private rented housing attractive to very big financial institutions who can build to rent on a very large scale. Yes with professional, regulated landlords and guaranteed 5 year tenancies. This would need subsidy from somewhere. That could come from flexibility over other planning obligations and payments.
    Sadly I doubt any politicians will ever deliver this which is why demand will continue to outstrip supply indefinitely.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Fair enough, and I agree with many of your points. I still think rent controls are not as devilish as they're being made out to be by some, but I also agree that Germany and Switzerland have much better housebuilding programmes. As a result, they don't have silly house and rent prices.

    Build to rent is a good idea in theory, but it makes me a little bit anxious. I fear more stock will be tied up with the uber wealthy and won't be going to those who need it most.

    I also share your pessimism at the ability of any of our politicians to deliver on their housing promises. The Tories have gone very quiet on the issue since they got back into power. Very strange.

    I like Lewis and think he can be a great asset, but it seems like housing is going to be on the backburner for the next five years. More's the pity.


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