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[Albert Owen in the Chair] — Affordable Housing (London)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:18 am on 9th September 2015.

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Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Chair, Public Accounts Committee 10:18 am, 9th September 2015

In the 30 seconds remaining to me, I will rattle through my points. Shared ownership needs to be reviewed. Recently on the market in my constituency was a £1 million shared ownership property. One would need to earn £77,000 a year to get a quarter share in that property. That is not computing; it is not working, and it needs to be reconsidered in London.

The Government could and should consider co-operative ownership. The garden suburbs were on that model. As my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden said, there is an opportunity to think more broadly and innovatively. Perhaps there could be a competition for housing solutions, and that could be one of them.

We need to give London much more autonomy. We need to devolve more property tax, so that the London Mayor, whatever party they are from, has the control to be able to grapple with this issue in the London market. We need to have a much better strategy for public land. Hon. Members have already talked about this in the debate. Her Majesty’s Treasury is demanding the highest pound return for the taxpayer. That sounds admirable, but the better dividend locally for communities would be to have affordable housing for local purchasers and local renters on the sites. It is common sense to look at the way land is dealt with, so the London Land Commission is a step in the right direction.

The Minister, I hope, will recognise that housing is a huge problem for our constituents. That has to be grappled with now or it will remain a problem for the next 20 years. It is going to take a long time to solve as it is, and if he does not tackle it now, it will become worse. We will see London hollowed out, with key workers and people on low incomes unable to live in the areas in which they work and which they serve. That will be devastating for the social capital of London.