Housing in London is in crisis. Years of boom, quite deliberately encouraged by the last Labour government, has seen London split into housing haves and have-nots.
Many people will never be able to afford their own homes, and to add insult to injury risk being thrown into the arms of rogue landlords.
I should know, four years ago my last landlord left me and my flat mate literally splashing around a flooded living room after a rupture in the main water supply to the block. That was just the most extreme example of the many problems we faced. We never saw him and were left to pick up the pieces with no recourse- because lets be honest who can afford a lawyer?
Short term contracts mean no stability for families and now changes to housing benefit will see people forced away from their families and children taken out of their schools. My family were forced out of Islington 60 years ago due to a lack of affordable housing, they were living with a young child in an attic room with no running water, fortunately new social housing was offered to them, albeit out of London. I can't believe this is happening again. And where is the social housing now? Sold off as an attempt at social engineering by the Tories.
Let's remember the housing benefit isnt going to the people on low incomes, its going into the pockets of landlords who are enjoying favourable tax rates while blocking people who want to own properly as their home, rather than an investment.
What a mess.
So you can see why I am strongly supporting Shelter and their campaign http://www.homesforlondon.org.uk/
The Greens havent published our full housing manifesto yet. But Jenny's response to Shelter has already seen us top their poll.
This is Jenny's summary:
‘Our manifesto for housing in London will focus on creating affordable and healthy homes for ordinary Londoners, not maintaining a playground for wealthy speculators and rogue landlords. I promise to protect tenants through the establishment of an ethical letting agency and by creating default five-year tenancy agreements.
As Mayor, I would ensure that public land and money is only used to build homes that ordinary Londoners can afford. I would stand up to attacks on our dwindling stock of social housing and I would ensure that all homes have low running costs with high environmental standards'.