“Fantasy nonsense”: Labour hit back at Tory 100,000 houses pledge

A Labour GLA incumbent said Shaun Bailey’s pledge to build 100,000 homes and sell them for £100,000 each is “fantasy nonsense” during a hustings debate tonight.

Candidates could all agree that London is facing a housing crisis, but Labour candidate Leonie Cooper was dismissive of the Conservative mayoral candidate’s proposed solution.

She said that under the budget given for housing from the Conservative government “you just can’t do that, that’s just fantasy nonsense.”

Max Gibbins from Clapham asked: “How do you stop the negative effects of the gentrification in areas like Brixton where the locals are being pushed out of their communities?”

Merton and Wandsworth Conservative candidate Louise Calland responded broadly by suggesting that new builds incorporate “a significant amount of green beauty” and that any new developments are “bio-diverse”.

This view was echoed by Cooper who said: “Urban greening factor is a really good way to make new developments attractive not only for humans to move into but nature to move into.”

Calland raised Bailey’s manifesto pledge of “100k for £100k” but this was dismissed by Cooper as un-costed and “fantasy nonsense”.

Calland also suggests building on brownfield sites rather than people’s back gardens.

The Green party and Lib Dems offered the most radical solutions, with Hannah Graham of the Greens arguing to close the City of London airport to make way for new housing, and Lib Dem candidate Hina Bokhari suggesting filling up empty office blocks, abandoned during the pandemic.

Graham would also give residents the power to vote down plans to demolish council homes, bring more private rented homes under public control, and allow community right to buy.

Bokhari accused Sadiq Khan of starting only half the affordable homes he had promised and raised the idea of a London wide landlord licensing scheme which would give councils more power over landlords.

Of all points raised in discussion, the candidates were most united against “rogue landlords”, a problem affecting many private renters in London, as well as the need to make any new housing attractive, green, and inclusive.

Featured Image by Nico Hogg licensed under Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic — CC BY-NC 2.0

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