Death of new truly affordable housing in London

London wide Assembly Member Murad Qureshi AM yesterday attempted to block the Mayor’s changes to the London Plan. The Mayor’s changes will now mean that new ‘affordable’ housing will be set at up to 80 per cent of the market rate in London. This will lead to many new properties in London meant for people on low and modest incomes becoming totally unaffordable.  

Yesterday was an historic opportunity for the Assembly to reject a Mayoral strategy but a two-thirds majority could not be secured. This was the first time new powers granted to the Assembly under the Localism Act have been used. 

In Westminster, where the household median income is £39,951, tenants would need to have a gross household income of £81,813 to afford a two bed property at 80 per cent of market rent.

Westminster borough argued that: 

“No reasonable assessment of this data could draw the conclusion that provision of housing at 80% of Westminster’s market rent either provides “affordable housing” or would enable the City Council to meet its full, objectively assessed needs for affordable housing.” 

At the EIP they argued that: 

“We do not believe affordable housing should be secured irrespective of whether people can afford it… 

Labour London wide Assembly Member Murad Qureshi AM said:

“Today’s vote is a hammer blow and signals the death of new truly affordable housing in London. It is a complete travesty that this has happened. Westminster is against the Mayor’s plan as well as other boroughs of all political persuasions. 

“The changes will mean that, to rent a two bedroom flat in Westminster at the new 80% level a family would have to earn £81,813. The median family income in Westminster is £39,951. This is why I voted against this. 

“The Mayor’s changes will make London’s housing crisis even worse. They will now push affordable housing out of the reach of many Londoners on low, and in some areas, modest incomes. This will also drive up rent, increase land prices and further distort London’s housing market. Boris should have accepted the recommendations of the Independent Planning Inspector, listened to local authorities and revised his London Plan. 

“Combined with the welfare reforms the Mayor’s changes will make huge swathes of inner London even more unaffordable than they already are. Today’s vote will contribute to the ghettoization of our city and put intolerable strain on a range of already overburdened local services in outer London. This is effectively giving up on ordinary Londoners on modest incomes by making it harder for them to find a home that is affordable.”

 Ends

 

Notes

  1. Murad Qureshi AM is a Labour London wide Assembly. 
  2. The London boroughs’ concerns with the Mayor’s proposed changes to the London Plan were raised during the ‘Examination in Public’, further details can be found here: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/planning/london-plan/examination-in-public and the borough’s specific concerns here: http://www.slideshare.net/CityHallLabour/joint-boroughs-rema-response