Tonight I listened to an inspiring group of Brixton residents who are taking the housing crisis into their own hands: setting up a Community Land Trust to build 300 homes for rent, owned by the community and let at rents linked to local incomes. Their challenge, as one board member put it, is to be seen as credible by the powers that be.
At our spring conference, the Green Party adopted a completely new set of housing and planning policies. These set out our big vision, and provide our politicians and manifesto authors with a starting point.
I’ve picked out five that I particularly like.
As the election for the Mayor of London next year looms on the horizon, candidates are pledging to build more homes in the capital. But targets are no use to anybody unless they are backed up with a credible plan, and in London the biggest challenge is that the housing market is broken, dysfunctional, pining for the fjords.
A quick look at home insulation tells us the ‘rich white men’ analysis can be a dead end for the Green movement.
Every so often I get a call from an estate agent. They aren’t looking to sell my home, but let it out. London is a rentier economy, and so rent controls are bitterly resisted.
I’m putting myself forward to be the Green Party’s candidate for the Mayor of London in 2016, and to be a candidate for the London Assembly list. I’m standing because… Greens can give London hope – that we can reclaim our homes from oligarchs and speculators, hope that we can take serious action on climate change, and hope that politicians can co-operate with communities and social movements instead of ignoring or trampling over them. I can persuade London that Green politicians working with grassroots campaigns provide the only hope of solving our housing crisis. We are the only party with the policies to tackle the vested interests of speculators, developers and landlords. I am standing as an experienced spokesperson with policy expertise, as a candidate who knows City Hall and so can hit the ground running, and as a community activist rooted in local campaigns on housing, the living wage, air pollution…