We can take our homes from back from the speculators, take our energy back from the big six, and take our streets back from polluting cars.
Greens in City Hall can be the elected wing of the community and campaign groups, the social movements that share our vision of a more equal and ecological city.
The Green Party’s manifesto will be drawn up democratically and published next Spring, but I want to use this selection process to propose some ambitious policies to take London back for Londoners – those here to day, future generations, and the thousands of other species that share this capital city.
Take back our housing
Housing in London is built, bought and even bulldozed for the benefit of rich speculators and developers. Under Boris Johnson, two thirds of new homes are bought as investments. Thousands of council homes are torn down to make way for a smaller number of less affordable flats, and many more “luxury” apartments.
Set-up a pan-London housing co-operative with a £2bn budget to help council tenants take control of their estate regeneration, and help other communities to build genuinely affordable homes.
The Mayor could raise this money by borrowing against business rates income, using it to build a lasting legacy not just in the form of genuinely affordable homes, but also empowered tenants who get control over their homes and estates.
Seize empty investor flats and rent them out on secure tenancies, to bring them into use and put others off from speculating on our homes.
I would seek a toughened up version of the Empty Dwelling Management Order powers local authorities have, and aggressively tackle the buy-to-leave problem both to bring some homes into use and to send a message to the speculators that these are our homes.
Take back our energy
Climate change is the biggest long-term challenge facing London, but most people feel powerless to tackle it. Reducing carbon emissions and making us resilient is a massive challenge for a city of almost nine million residents, with trade links and financial holdings extending across the globe. But with energy, I believe we can start to take back some power.
Give every Londoner a £10 stake in a new solar energy co-operative, investing at least £80 million over four years in solar panels on schools, homes and workplaces.
Everybody should benefit from the solar revolution in London that City Hall could unleash with this co-operative. Every registered voter and school child will be able to claim a £10 stake, and a chance to buy many more, giving you a 7 per cent return on your investment.
Take back our streets
London’s population is booming and our streets cannot cope with the extra traffic this could bring. Pollution and collisions bring early deaths and poor health to all of us. We need a radical shift away from cars to buses and bikes, away from fleets of half-empty vans to cargo bikes and clever logistics.
I will unveil further policy ideas here in due course.
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