Islington Labour's Housing lead, Cllr Diarmaid Ward, has brought together all of London’s Labour Housing Chiefs to call for the implementation of the Housing and Planning Act to be halted by the new Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell MP.
In a joint open letter to Mr Barwell, Labour’s local council cabinet members responsible for housing across London have set out the devastating impact the government’s Housing Act will have on Londoners and have called for Mr Barwell, who is also the new Minister for London, to work with them and the Mayor of London to ensure that London can remain a home for all Londoners.
The Housing and Planning Act will force many councils to sell up to a third of their already desperately over-subscribed housing stock. The Act also introduces the Tenant Tax on hard-pressed working families, which will see households in council homes with incomes over £40,000 per year forced to pay a 15% additional tax to the government for every £1 they earn over the threshold, up to the level of market rent for their home.
The Act also includes the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants and a new definition of what an ‘affordable home’ will cost in London, which will further worsen the housing crisis.
Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Development, organised the letter and commented: “London faces a housing crisis and the Housing Act is set to make it worse. Mr Barwell is in a unique position as both Minister for Housing and the Minister for London to put a halt on the implementation of this devastating legislation, which will hurt many people in our great city.
“It seems clear to me that Mr Barwell cannot say on the one hand he is acting in the best interest of London, as he has to do in his job as Minister for our city, and then in his other role implement legislation that will make finding an affordable home much harder for working people in London.
“The government hasn’t published much of the detail of how it plans to implement the Act, so now is the time to halt its implementation. We stand ready to work with Mr Barwell and the Mayor of London to tackle the housing crisis, so that London can remain a home for all Londoners.”
The joint letter has been signed by the following Labour Cabinet members - Cllr Diarmaid Ward (Islington), Cllr Martin Whelton (Merton), Cllr Alison Butler (Croydon), Cllr Patricia Callaghan (Camden), Cllr Farah Hussein (Redbridge), Cllr Glen Hearnden, (Harrow), Cllr Ahmet Oykener (Enfield), Cllr Harbi Farah (Brent), Cllr Damian Egan (Lewisham), Cllr Katherine Dunne (Hounslow), Cllr Stephanie Cryan (Southwark), Cllr Khevyn Limbajee (Waltham Forest), Cllr Sirajul Islam (Tower Hamlets), Cllr Dominic Twomey (Barking & Dagenham), Cllr Matthew Bennett, (Lambeth), Cllr Averil Lekau (Greenwich), Cllr Philip Glanville (Hackney), Cllr Ken Clark (Newham), Cllr Alan Strickland (Haringey), Cllr Jasbir Anand (Ealing).