Thursday 12th April 2012 

'I'm going to bring back 50% of market rents ceiling in London'

Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has pledged to restore the 50% of market rents ceiling for new affordable homes built in the capital.
The plans have been set out by Labour candidate, Livingstone, ahead of a visit to London Borough of Havering today with shadow housing minister Jack Dromey.
The pair will be visiting the first phase of Old Ford Housing Association’s Orchard Village - formerly known as the Mardyke Estate - where 121 new homes for rent were completed last year as part of an £80 million regeneration.
Livingstone has pledged to get more affordable homes built in London, but wants to make them "genuinely affordable" - in contrast to the Government's Affordable Rent programme which sees new social housing and some existing stock let at 80% of the market rent.
If elected, Mr Livingstone said he will bring back the 50% of market rents ceiling, and will instruct the Homes and Communities Agency to include that level in its new homes building programme.
Elsewhere, he wants to establish a London-wide empty homes strategy and improve disability access in new homes, so that all Londoners can benefit.
He also wants more joint working between councils, housing associations and housebuilders.
Mr Livingstone said: “London is in the grips of a housing crisis. Rents are soaring, standards are declining and waiting lists continue to rise. All of these problems arise because of a failure to build new affordable homes under the Tory mayor. Enough is enough. 
"In addition to taking action to drive down prices and raise standards in London’s private rented sector with the first not for profit London wide lettings agency, today I am setting out my plans to deliver more affordable homes for London. 
"I will do this by a series of measures including bringing back the 50 per cent of market rents ceiling, using the extremely valuable land assets of the GLA bodies to build more homes, exploring innovative ways to finance home building and  through establishing a London-wide empty homes strategy.
"Building more affordable homes, along with cutting fares and restoring police numbers are commitments at the heart of my manifesto, reflecting the fact that these are the issues ordinary Londoners across the capital tell me matter to them the most.”
Local Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas offered his support to Ken’s plans, saying; “People in Havering need help in times like these. We have a severe lack of affordable housing in the area, and it’s an issue which the Conservative mayor Johnson has totally failed to address. 
“Ken understands the concerns of ordinary Londoners, and he will fight for a better deal for our area.”