With just a few hours until polls close in London, housing remains the main issue that may help determine who gets to run the capital for the next four years.
Housing is without doubt the number one concern for Londoners ahead of today's London mayoral election, according to research by ComRes.
Mindful of the fact that housing is now the biggest issue for Londoners, the leading London mayoral candidates have put it at the core of their proposals, with front-runners Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate, and Zac Goldsmith, for the Conservatives, both calling the election a “referendum on housing”.
“The emphasis on housing from all the candidates is not unexpected, with the lack of affordability one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of London,” said Stephanie McMahon, head of research at Strutt & Parker.
Given that house prices spiralled under both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, the next mayor of London will be under a great deal of pressure to do more to make London affordable.
Residential property prices in 28 of 33 London boroughs are now at least 10 times average salaries, with prices in many of London’s most expensive boroughs now out of reach for all but the super-rich.
So who should you vote for?
London mayoral candidates’ policies at-a-glance:
Sadiq Khan (Labour)
Labour Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan has vowed to deliver 80,000 new homes in the capital each year, 50% of which will be affordable, by freeing up more brownfield land for housebuilding. He also wants to form a ‘new homes’ division in City Hall, set up a not-for-profit letting agency, aim to restrict rent rises, and invest more in the London Affordable Homes Programme.
Zac Goldsmith (Conservative)
The Conservative candidate has also pledged to focus on releasing publicly-owned brownfield land for the construction of more residential properties, with a view to delivering 50,000 new homes a year in London by 2020, financed in part by a new pan-London investment fund for overseas investors. He also wants to bring thousands of vacant homes back into use, get tough on rogue landlords, and introduce longer term tenancies.
Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrats)
Caroline Pidgeon wants to boost new housing supply in the capital, including significantly more council homes at affordable rent levels. She also wants all private landlords in the capital to be registered, introduce a ‘right to buy’ for tenants if the landlord decides to sell, abolish letting agency fees for tenants and promote three- to five-year tenancies.
Sian Berry (Green Party)
Sian Berry is demanding that the mayor of London be given greater rent controls, as part of efforts to help private renters in the capital. She also believes that there should be a voluntary landlord registration in place, as well as a new Renters’ Union, financed by City Hall, designed to provide tenants with greater support and advice.
Peter Whittle (UKIP)
Aside from lobby for “sensible migration” levels to help restrict demand for housing, Peter Whittle has pledged to boost housebuilding levels. He believes that a comprehensive registry of all London’s brownfield sites is crucial to boosting the supply of land for the construction of new homes. Whittle has also proposed taxing buy-to-let landlords at a higher rate if they leave their homes empty and offering long-term residents in London priority when it comes to social housing.
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