The London Mayoral Election will take place on Thursday 6th May, when Sadiq Khan will hope to retain his position as the Capital’s most influential politician for another four years.
The Mayor of London has a complex job but a relatively small remit when it comes to power and decision-making. The three biggest areas of focus for whoever wins this election will be policing, transport, and housing.
The Mayor of London is in a great position to improve the housing situation in London, deciding where and how funds should be spent. This means that, depending on who wins the election, the future of London housing could go in any number of directions.
Here is a list of the most prominent Mayoral candidates who voters will have to choose between on Thursday, and a brief overview of their housing pledges and policies.
Sadiq Khan – Labour
Hoping to retain his position as Mayor of London for another four years, Sadiq Khan is the heavy favourite to win this election. Under his leadership, housing in London has failed to receive the boost he and his party promised during the previous election. For this, he has faced much criticism, but nothing that previous Mayor’s, including Boris Johnson, haven’t been on the receiving end of.
However, London always tends to vote heavily for Labour, so regardless of his track record, he’s likely to remain in the position.
If so, Khan has said that ‘fixing the housing crisis’ is a central part of his plans for the coming term, promising to deliver ‘record numbers of council homes’ and to implement properly considered ‘rent controls’ to support the oft-forgotten tenants of London.
Khan has already had four years to follow through on housing promises, but if you asked 100 people, 99 would tell you nothing has changed. One of those years has, of course, been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but that leaves three years of non-action to answer for.
Shaun Bailey – Conservatives
As always, Labour’s strongest rival in this election are the Tories. Shaun Bailey, a man who was himself homeless in his twenties, wants more Londoners to receive the opportunities he has been given to turn their lives around.
His priority is ‘getting Londoners on the housing ladder’. To achieve this, he is pledging to build ‘100,000 new homes’ and, most remarkably, ‘selling them for £100,000 each’.
It’s an eye-catching promise from a political party notoriously flakey when it comes to providing truly affordable housing, but with London being so historically Labour-leaning, they are keen to regain control.
One hopes the big promise of affordable housing will come to fruition should Bailey win this election, though it will likely require one or more pressure groups to keep a close eye on their progress to ensure the policy doesn’t get buried in the next political/social disaster.
He currently sits second in the polls, a fair distance behind Sadiq Khan.
Sian Berry – Green Party
The green party have always struggled to make a real impact at the Mayoral elections and, this year, things are not likely to be any different.
The Greens have somewhat lost their mojo since the leading two parties have been forced to place sustainability front and centre of their manifestos, but they continue to play an important role in pressuring and lobbying politicians and businesses to do what’s required to save our planet.
When it comes to housing, Berry says ‘a city like London can find everyone a decent home’. To prove this, a pledge has been made to ‘halt the destructive demolition of council homes’ in order for more affordable homes to be made available.
For renters, Berry promises to ‘build stronger rights…to bring down costs and prevent evictions’.
Luisa Porritt – Liberal Democrats
Despite both Labour and the Conservatives struggling to gain and maintain trust among the UK public, choosing instead to trade scandals and fuel tabloid headlines, the Lib Dems have completely failed to capitalise on the opportunity.
With the Tories leaning further and further right, and Labour desperately trying to scramble together momentum after Jeremy Corbyn yanked the party leftwards, there is a vacancy in the historically popular centreground which the Lib Dems are ideally suited to fill.
So far, however, they’ve shown no desire to step up. Perhaps this Mayoral election will mark the start of a resurgence?
When it comes to housing, Luise Porritt has pledged ‘truly affordable homes’ because, she says, London is now so expensive that it’s become inaccessible for far too many people.
Steve Kelleher – Social Democrats
Who? That’s right, the Social Democratic Party. Poor
Steve Kelleher has a tough job trying to gain momentum with the backing of a party nobody has heard of, but he has a clear and unique vision for London housing.
“I will target for 50,000 new council homes per year by 2024 with ‘Points Super Bonus’ for young people born and brought up in the borough where they apply for social housing.
“We want more London families to stay close between generations, with grandparents, parents, and grown-up children close by. Families are the foundation of our society.”
The focus on keeping families together is an interesting one and speaks volumes about the party’s political slant. Whether or not housing can be changed to better suit this vision remains to be seen, and Kelleher is unlikely to get the chance to try.
Peter Gammons – UKIP
The briefly influential UKIP has fallen very quickly into obscurity since the departure of their charismatic talisman, Nigel Farage, but they’re still plugging away, trying to win hearts with their unique brand of nationalism and politics.
Peter Gammons wants ‘an affordable London’ with ‘affordable housing’. He is also promising to ‘freeze council tax’, ‘protect renters’, and ‘end homelessness’.
Nims Obunge – Independant
Independent candidates are usually around to simply add a new, previously unrepresented voice to the election and rarely harbour expectations of a victory.
When it comes to housing, Obunge is pushing for more ‘affordability’, specifically using ‘modern methods of construction to build better, faster, and cost-effective homes’.
Furthermore, he promises to assign a Delivery Taskforce to ‘review council tax costs’.
Piers Corbyn – Let London Live
Piers Corbyn from Let London Live is sick of lockdown.
He wants it over with and promises to end it for good as soon as he wins the election.
He thinks too much time, attention, and money are being spent fighting the virus, resources that should all be redirected back to the things he thinks matter most.
Among those things, Corbyn promises to ‘defend council housing’ and ‘end homelessness’.
Kam Balayev – Renew
Renew is a party of political obscurity – nobody knows who they are or what they stand for and most of us need not care because their impact will be non-existent.
When talking about housing, however, candidate Kam Balayev promises to ‘reward first-time buyers with incentives’. That’s as far as the information goes.
Vanessa Hudson – Animal Welfare Party
While her priority may be animal welfare, Vanessa Hudson does have broader Mayoral policies she will implement upon victory. Among them is a priority to create more ‘sustainable and affordable’ homes.
One might think that renters with pets should be voting for Hudson who will likely do great things is pressuring private landlords to be more lenient when it comes to furry friends.