Statement on the Housing White Paper
February 7th, 2017
Responding to the publication of the Government’s Housing White Paper, Tom Copley AM said:
“What we have here is evidence the government hasn’t got to grips with the realities of the housing crisis. More than anything we need an upsurge in truly affordable housing, but unless government is willing to lift the cap on council’s borrowing this will difficult to achieve. While a first glance suggests this White Paper will probably have limited impact on London, the spectre of the forced sale of council homes in the capital to pay for Right to Buy discounts still hangs over us.
“The government have indicated that they have finally woken up to the need to look beyond home ownership, with the shift in focus onto Build to Rent. But this is to attract institutional investors – and whilst the promise of longer tenancies is welcome, its bearing will be miniscule unless it is extended to existing rental properties, where the vast majority of renters actually live.
“With the government insisting on clinging steadfastly to its definition of affordable rent as 80% of market prices, any positive step it takes towards making life better for renters will be undermined. The government should instead follow Sadiq Khan’s lead by tying ‘intermediate rent’ to income, as the Mayor has done through his new London Living Rent.
“The ban on letting agents fees could significantly benefit renters, but it must be a blanket ban with no loopholes that greedy agents can exploit.”