QUESTION: What is your definition of affordable housing? How many homes do you pledge to build and how can this be achieved?
Labour candidate – Sadiq Khan
“At the heart of my Affordable Homes Programme are three types of housing: homes for Social Rent; homes for London Living Rent set at one-third of local average incomes; and homes for shared ownership.
I grew up in a council home which is why, if re-elected, I am determined to build on my record delivery of council housing through the Building Council Homes for Londoners programme. I will also establish City Hall as a developer so that the GLA will become a direct home builder able to deliver significant numbers of genuinely affordable homes at pace.”
NOTE: That in the printed version of the Southwark News on Thursday April 29th Sadiq Khan did not provide any answers to our questions in time so we based his responses on his manifesto.
Conservative party candidate – Shaun Bailey
“I’ll build 100,000 homes and sell them for £100,000 using the shared ownership model.
What this means is that rather than a £50,000 deposit, you need a £5,000 deposit.
Now we still need to build council homes, and we will, but 87% of Londoners want to own their own home. We don’t need to create more landlords; we need to create new homeowners.
To achieve this we start Housing for London, consolidating all the powers of the mayor under one roof so that we are driving the housebuilding, not big developers.”
Liberal Democrat party candidate – Luisa Porritt
“I think Londoners are fed up with targets that are never met. What we need is a change of approach. That’s what I’m offering.
“I’ll set up a London Housing Company, a City Hall backed developer to take direct control of building the homes we need, and take advantage of empty office space coming onto the market by converting them into quality, affordable homes.”
Green Party candidate – Sian Berry
“We have left housing to the big developers for decades and the results are clear – it hasn’t worked, and in the last five years the gap between what London needs and what is being built has got wider.
I have won some changes, like ballots for residents on estates to help prevent us knocking down existing social homes, but we need Londoners to have the ability to develop new homes themselves.
I will set up a People’s Land Commission to find land for the new homes we need, from the people. Not enough is being done to fix the housing crisis in the homes we already have.
In January I put forward a plan to use £400 million that the GLA has left over from current grant money, to buy back homes from the big developers for key workers to rent at rates they can afford. London needs more fresh thinking like this.”
UKIP Party candidate – Peter Gammons
“Too many luxury homes are being built in comparison to affordable and what the Tories and Labour call affordable is not.
They have both also failed to take seriously social housing needs.
I have been investigating between 100 and 200 derelict sites to build 100,000 starter homes at 150k, outright ownership.
Bailey talking about 100k homes is deceptive as this is fractional ownership, which is fraught with problems.”
London Real Party candidate – Brian Rose
“I’ll build 50,000 affordable homes – that means costing about £100,000 – by Christmas, and 100,000 a year after that.
How? We’ll use modular housing, which is affordable, green and can be constructed in a very short time.
We’ll use unused TfL land within half a mile of transport hubs and we’ll apply an infrastructure levy so that those who profit from the housing pay back into a pot to pay for community infrastructure, additional policing and a better transport system.
So, when affordable housing is built in Southwark, some of the proceeds flow directly back to improve Southwark and its infrastructure.”
The Reclaim Party candidate – Laurence Fox
“I will build 250,000 new homes for Londoners.
I will change the planning rules to allow offices and shops to be converted to residential use, and put aside political correctness to reconsider how we use the Green Belt, much of which is scrubland and semi-industrial.”
Women’s Equality Party candidate – Mandu Reid
“We will not accept a definition of affordable housing that includes rent at 80% of market rates.
This puts housing out of reach for most people, and especially women who earn less than men on average.
That is why I am committed to creating a strong social rent policy in London with separate targets, and fighting tooth and nail for better housing allowance.”
Let London Live Party candidate – Piers Corbyn
“AFFORDABLE HOUSING” is a misleading term used to justify developments providing housing UNAFFORDABLE for most.
I will have a MAJOR REVIEW of housing provision in London in which I will bring in new rules to stand-up to developer destruction of communities.
I will quickly convert empty commercial properties into high space standard council housing and (in conjunction with boroughs) take-over / get sold many empty speculators flats & blocks.
Total provision (which would also involve some new build) 400,000; 75% of which would be at council “at cost” rents.
The rest would be actually affordable (rent or buy) by average earners in London.
My record of fighting for housing rights speaks for itself.”
Burning Pink Party candidate – Valerie Brown
“Southwark people know the area far better than me or anyone living outside Southwark.
Citizens’ Assemblies will decide how many homes to build, where, and of what type. They often come up with innovative solutions.
It’s possible they may decide to convert existing buildings.
Citizens’ Assemblies will also define what affordable housing is and set out how to achieve it.”
Rejoin EU party candidate – Richard Hewison
“London needs approximately 66,000 new houses per annum by the London Assembly’s own figures, and in the next 3 years London can be served best by making those 100% affordable homes.
“My personal definition of affordable is that people should spend no more than 25% of their disposable income on housing & related utility expenses.”
Social Democrat Party candidate – Steven Kelleher
“Across London we will build 50,000 homes.
New homes will come with a contract where the tenant waives all rights to buy during the term of tenancy.
Paid for using TFL brownfield sites and partnering with local authority pension funds looking to buy long term yielding assets rather than negative yielding gilts.
Rents will be set at 2.5% of the capital value so that the system is self-financing, and rents are affordable for key workers and London essential workers.”
Independent – Farah London
“I want to see more homeowners in London, frankly people are being priced out of London, as it is no longer affordable.
I will be introducing a new rent to buy scheme, where with a low deposit, homeowners can increase their equity in the property with each monthly rent paid.
There is no catch, a quite simple way to ensure affordable means affordable. These properties will only be available to residents in London.
I will work with each borough so we can realistically plan what is needed in each borough against demand.”
Renew Party candidate – Kam Balayev
“The lack of actual affordable housing for Londoners is unsustainable.
There are too many empty buildings in this city but even worse is the amount of unused land owned by the government and local authorities.
We need to use this land and give London more eco-friendly, affordable homes! I will also offer bigger discounts for first time buyers.”
Animal Welfare Party candidate – Vanessa Hudson
“We have 10,000 people homeless, 58,000 in temporary accommodation and 243,000 on council waiting lists. Until everyone is housed in safe, affordable and, crucially, sustainable accommodation the work of the London Mayor is not done.
But, hand in hand with an ambitious building programme, we must think creatively about making the best use of existing buildings – we have office spaces and around 30,000 homes sitting empty.
Any definition of affordable must be based upon the planet’s remaining carbon budget and what those with the lowest income can afford.”
Nims Obunge, independent
“London has a significant housing needs due to its population growth. The demand for social and private rental in certain areas along with a crisis of overcrowding in some homes has made the need for building affordable homes core to our manifesto.
To achieve this I will establish a Home Build Taskforce led by experts who have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) to deliver effective and efficient innovative robust house building and place delivery.
This will involve Offsite Construction housing delivery systems and a dynamic procurement framework for contracts and create potential for equity investments, such as Pop-up Factories.
The Task force will consider best options to build new homes quicker, better quality, more sustainable (Pre-Future Homes 2025-2050) and cost effective.
We will also look to work with landlord and tenants to achieve a kitemark on reasonable rents and quality of accommodation. ”
NOTE: That in the printed version of the Southwark News on Thursday April 29th Nims Obunge did not provide any answers to our questions in time so we based his responses on his manifesto.
On Thursday May 6 you will be voting for the next Mayor of London and an assembly member to represent you at a local level.
This election, which was postponed for a year because of the pandemic, has seen more mayoral candidates than ever before. Twenty have stood, including the current Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Voters will be given a pink ballot paper on May 6 with the option of selecting two of their preferred candidates.
Different to General Elections, the London Mayor election uses a proportional representation voting system called the supplementary vote. This involves putting an X in column A for your first choice and an X in column B for your second.
This does not reduce the chances of your first choice being successful, but rather ensures all votes matter as they are counted.
We posed the same five questions on housing, crime, environment, transport and the economy, to ensure that you can see in a balanced way where each candidate stands on these key issues.
Here are the answers on: