Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:33 am on 9th September 2015.
I want to raise some questions that remained unanswered when we debated the subject in July, and I wonder whether we will have better luck with this Minister than we did with the previous one. I congratulate Chris Philp on securing this vital debate.
The average age of an unaided first-time buyer in London is now 37, and at the debate in July I asked what the Minister predicted that would be by the end of this Government’s term in office. I also raised the question of affordability. The hon. Member for Croydon South talked about Old Oak Common, where 24,000 dwellings are coming on stream. The Mayor of London’s definition of affordable is 80% of market rent, but is that realistic or desirable? Can we change it? I had no reply to that question.
Mark Field made some interesting comments about overseas matters. I remember asking in the previous debate whether we would soon be “turning Japanese”. In that country, people bequeath a mortgage from generation to generation. Do we foresee that happening? Regarding overseas investors, I asked the Minister who responded to the debate in July whether he would consider including a provision in his next housing Bill banning overseas and off-plan investors from buying future new builds, so that local London first-time buyers would at least have a chance. That was the No. 1 thing for me as a candidate, and it is the No. 1 thing in my postbag and inbox as an MP.
Recently, I posted a picture when I was door-knocking in Stephenson Street, NW10—a cobbled road of terraced housing that is often used in period dramas, and that was in the video for “Our House” by Madness. I posted it to say what a fantastic cultural heritage we have in East Acton ward, and somebody posted underneath asking, “Have you looked at what these are going for? The last one sold went for half a million.” Those houses were not meant to be for rich people. I fear that London will experience a brain drain, and that in time it will be only for the oligarchs and the super-rich.