Caroline Pidgeon is proposing an Alternative Budget at City Hall setting out plans to build 200,000 new homes in London. Caroline is leader of the Liberal Democrats at City Hall and candidate for London Mayor.
Caroline said, "The shortage of affordable housing in London remains the gravest crisis facing our city, with over 500,000 people currently languishing on housing waiting lists. For decades London has failed to build enough new homes, driving up rents and putting property prices well beyond the reach of most ordinary Londoners.
"Rising property prices are bad for London’s economy too, since businesses increasingly struggle to find workers who can afford to live in the city. This must change if London is to retain its competitive edge on the international stage.
"While the current Mayor continues to stand idly by, looking forward to the day when government may grant City Hall control over Stamp Duty receipts to fund additional affordable housing initiatives, this Liberal Democrat budget amendment shows how the GLA could itself fund a large scale home-building initiative by borrowing against its existing revenue budget - stimulating demand across the whole economy at the same time as addressing the shortage of affordable homes and guarding against the risk of a housing bubble.
"In future years we propose that the extra resources needed to fund our housing investment programme could be found by freezing the GLA’s share of council tax at its current level, converting the full £20-a-year Olympic precept into a new ‘housing precept’, and utilising unallocated revenue funding currently held within the GLA’s reserves.
"The Mayor has already proposed a reduction in the Band D precept in 2016/17 of £19, of which £12 will arise from a reduction in the GLA’s contribution to the cost of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The remaining element (£8) of the ‘Olympic precept’ is due to become obsolete in 2017/18 when London’s commitment to contribute £625 million to the public sector funding package for Games will have been achieved.
"Though the need to finance London’s 2012 Games may have passed, the social and economic imperative to address the current shortage of affordable homes in London remains and, we believe, more than justifies freezing the GLA’s share of council tax at its current level – in effect creating a new ‘housing precept’.
"A sustained freeze over the next two years, combined with £11.5 million of unallocated revenue funding currently available to the next Mayor, would release an additional £86.4 million per annum from 2017/18 onwards – providing the long-term revenue stream needed to finance a large-scale, £2 billion programme of home building.
"At the same time we would create a new London housing and property company, wholly owned by the GLA, to kick-start this programme, giving London Government the means, once again, to directly commission, construct and manage London’s affordable homes.
"It’s vital this once in a generation chance to solve London’s housing crisis and secure the future of our city is not squandered by a Mayor set to leave City Hall within a few months and arguably more concerned with his future career prospects than providing the critical infrastructure London requires."
Back Caroline's plans for 200,000 new homes here:
Download the full budget amendment here