[Hugh Bayley in the Chair] — Housing (Greater London)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 11th November 2008.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North 9:30 am, 11th November 2008

The 50 per cent. target was very desirable and I supported it, as I imagine many Members did. It was not achieved, because it relied far too much on large-site development, rather than small-site development, and there was a degree of opposition to it among developers, who claimed that they could not financially stack up particular developments. In my borough, for example, we have a system whereby anything above 10 units has to include a social proportion. That is fine. The problem is that most of the developments are very small. The number that come in at eight or nine units to avoid the social requirement is miraculous. Alternatively, sites are broken up to avoid that social responsibility.

We need a Mayor who is tough, who will intervene and who will deliver social housing for the people of London; but on the evidence so far, I am not confident that Boris Johnson has that as his highest priority. He has also fiddled around with the division between rented and part-rent, part-purchase properties. In the inner-city areas, the part-rent, part-purchase, so-called affordable properties are not affordable to the majority of people who live locally. They are not affordable to the majority of people in housing stress. There are only one or two boroughs where that is not the case.

London faces a housing crisis—a crisis for people in rented accommodation, those in council accommodation, those who rent privately and those who are owner-occupiers and pay very high mortgages. We need Government intervention to ensure that we conquer that housing crisis and provide homes for rent, with security of tenure, for those who need them. We need intervention to do that. Leaving it to the market will make the situation worse and increase homelessness, poverty and the social disorder that comes from that. In his reply, I hope that the Minister will tell us that the Government will invest in homes and young people, to prevent people from ending up with poor-quality lives, because of the poor-quality property that they are expected to live in.