The Metropolis

London housing: The call goes out for lower rents. Chance of that happening, slim

Mike Pollitt | Thursday 27 September, 2012 16:04

London rents compared with wages

Housing all of its inhabitants may well be the biggest single problem facing London in the next 10 years.

If you want a primer on the problems, I broke down a comprehensive IPPR report back in May 2012 which lays out a lot of the issues. Briefly, these include

  • a growing population
  • £1.6bn p.a. currently being spent on housing benefit
  • Not enough new housing being built
  • The wrong sort of housing being built

As for solutions, this week I’ve seen two separate cases made for more houses and lower rents, not as an end in themselves but because of the benefits this would have to the economy as a whole.

Peter Jeffreys, of Shelter, provides the above chart in his post at LSE blogs. He argues that high rents are taking money away from the rest of the economy, stifling demand, and impeding a recovery. The solution? More affordable housing.

And London Assembly member Darren Johnson (Green) has put out a document listing, in his view, 10 myths associated with housing benefit. I’ve embedded it below. His sixth point makes the case that lower rents = lower housing benefit payments. The solution? More affordable housing.

How likely is this to happen? Well, in Newham last year they started to build 0 affordable homes. Zero.

This is exactly the sort of serious, complex, long-term, city wide issue that an energetic and committed elected Mayor could really help to solve…

Chart: Via Peter Jeffreys at LSE Blogs – High rents are holding back the recovery

Darren Johnson AM: 10 Myths Housing Benefit Sept 2012

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Mike Pollitt

About this writer

Mike Pollitt

Mike Pollitt is the editor of The Metropolis.

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