Dame Tessa Jowell today committed herself to building thousands of new homes in which Londoners “feel safe and can put down roots” if she’s elected Mayor.
Unveiling her bid to to become Labour’s candidate in next year’s mayoral election, Dame Tessa last week promised to create a new ‘Homes for Londoners’ agency tasked with delivering the homes needed by London’s growing population.
Today the former Dulwich MP told an audience of local councillors and housing experts that the shortage of homes “risks triggering an economic crisis, with talented staff being priced out of the capital.”
She spoke of meeting young renters who were forced to live out of their suitcase because rising rents meant they had to move so often that it wasn’t worth unpacking, and of key workers who “can’t afford to live anywhere near the people they are paid to serve.”
Delegates heard how tackling the growing crisis would only be possible if City Hall and local boroughs showed “bold civic leadership” and pooled their skills, land and powers to deliver for Londoners.
Dame Tessa vowed to convene the Homes for Londoners board and set to work recruiting a “crack team of staff” on day one of her mayoralty which she said would offer genuine support for all types of properties and tenures, including social rent, “genuinely affordable rent,” and home ownership.
She also committed herself to “significantly” expanding support for rent-to-own schemes which allow buyers to purchase a property over a 30-year period without needing an up-front deposit.
In January current Mayor Boris Johnson awarded £40m to Gentoo Genie to build “at least 2,000” such properties over a ten-year period.
Jowell today said she would double that figure, insisting that “young Londoners on modest incomes must be able once more to get a foot on the housing ladder.”
Labour will select its Mayoral candidate via a ballot of party members and registered supporters this summer. Other confirmed runners include transport expert Christian Wolmar and MPs Diane Abbott and David Lammy.