Mayoral candidate Stephen Greenhalgh today set out a ‘home ownership’ blueprint for the capital that will ensure thousands of hard-working young Londoners can again afford to get on the property ladder.
Greenhalgh – running to win the Conservative nomination to be Mayor of London from 2016 – said he was determined to give the capital’s residents the chance to buy their own home.
And he promised to build on the achievements of the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson – who has already built 87,000 affordable homes since 2008 and is currently fast tracking 20,000 additional homes through nine new Housing Zones – by pledging to build 50,000 new affordable homes over four years for essential city workers such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses and teachers.
Greenhalgh said he had the track record to deliver on his pledges. He pointed to his record as Council Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham between 2006 and 2012 where he delivered more than four times as many “intermediate” homes to buy than his Labour predecessors had over the previous six years. He also created a dedicated Home Buy Unit for first-time buyers and key workers.
Today Stephen Greenhalgh announced that as Mayor of London from 2016:
- Only those who have lived or worked in the capital for at least three years would be able to buy new homes built on public land. A similar condition would apply to housing associations and developers receiving Greater London Authority funding. This would reserve new homes for Londoners.
- 50,000 new affordable homes would be built for the city’s key workers – such as teachers, paramedics, police officers, firefighters and nurses, “the brilliant people who keep our city alive”.
- He would tackle empty homes in London by pushing for a new Empty Homes Corporate Tax to be levied on companies – which account for the vast majority of foreign property investment – whose properties are not occupied for at least half the year. The burden of proving residence would be on the business.
- He would also push for action to be taken against “land banking” where owners buy brownfield sites, do not develop them and watch their value increase before selling the land. Greenhalgh would push for a new levy on any financial gain made by landowners who fail to redevelop sites.
Stephen Greenhalgh, who discussed his housing plans at a roundtable last week with some of London’s leading housing experts, attacked Labour for their obsession with providing only social rented homes the result of which would mean even more Londoners being priced out of the housing market for longer.
He said: “Boris has done a great job building almost 100,000 new affordable homes across London, often with many boroughs resisting, but we still need more new homes of every kind – that’s why I have already pledged 50,000 new affordable homes for the brilliant people who keep our city alive, the essential workers like teachers, paramedics, police officers, firefighters and nurses.
“The priority from 2016 is also to deliver a home ownership revolution in London. At the moment we risk having an entire generation priced out of the London housing market, stuck on rent and unable to buy – something Labour’s obsession with providing only social rented housing will perpetuate. I will put Londoners at the front of the queue to buy new homes they can afford.”
Stephen Greenhalgh’s policies are backed by a new YouGov poll. It reveals:
- Voters across the political spectrum want to prioritise getting Londoners on the housing ladder, not simply providing just more social housing, with 42 per cent of Londoners think allowing more people to buy a new home and get on the housing ladder should be the priority for affordable housing in London. Only 21 per cent want to prioritise more council or housing association properties. There was a similar lead across age ranges and social groups. Labour voters also agreed, with 36 per cent wanting affordable homes to buy prioritised over social housing (28 per cent).