London Assembly chair Daren Johnson today launched a scathing attack on Mayor Boris Johnson’s housing policy, slamming it for displacing average London families in favour of foreign buyers.
The Green Party politician’s Crumbs for Londoners report claims that the current policy of large-scale construction centred on 43 regeneration districts is not working and is displacing social housing tenants, while not producing nearly enough new homes to curtail rocketing house prices.
“The Mayor expects to get 80% of new homes to be built in these major regeneration projects,” Johnson said. “So you would expect a huge social housing programme to be included. But the mayor set the requirement for social housing too low in his planning policy, and then lets developers lower that bar further.
“He couldn’t even tell me how much social housing he expects to be delivered on the regeneration projects,” he added.
Developers are usually required to devote 10% of their projects for social housing purposes although the Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research estimates that on current trends there will be a shortfall of 186,333 social rented homes for low income Londoners by 2021.
Johnson blames foreign demand for creating ever-greater wealth inequality in the capital, which is considered the most unequal city in the developed world. According to the ONS, the wealthiest 10% of Londoners are thought to amass 273 times the wealth of the bottom tenth. The Green Party London Assembly chair thinks this can be curtailed by introducing higher taxes on foreign buyers and second home owners and also by giving councils more power to build homes.
The Mayor, however, insists that encouraging high-paying foreign buyers, responsible for purchasing at least two thirds of London new-builds, is the only way to bolster construction and increase London’s inadequate housing stock. He has vehemently denied claims that a property bubble may be on the horizon, insisting in his London 2020 plan that 40,000 new London homes will be built each year.
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