The biggest problem for Londoners is housing. This is well known. But what to do about it? I would suggest the following:
- Controlled rents with longer term secure leases in the private sector. Rents are completely out of control. This leads to overcrowding and to huge numbers of people trying to get onto council housing waiting lists. London is becoming out of reach to all but the very rich and those (at least for the moment) in social housing.
- What is ostensibly domestic property in London has instead become a way of earning profit through, for example, 'buy to leave'. We need regulations that penalise those who leave housing empty.
- Property in London is also a proven way to launder money. We need legislation to crack down on this.
- The current government's proposed Housing Bill is back to front. Instead of finding ways to make the private housing sector more affordable and secure, the bill instead threatens to make those in 'social housing' in as dire a situation as those currently in the private sector.
But the housing bill will result in more people having to leave London, and their empty properties being bought up by the very rich, many of whom will rent out the properties at market rates. The government's plan to help people to buy 'affordable' homes is a disastrous plan: an individual would need to be earning over £70k to afford one of these 'affordable' homes.