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In discussion with the Shadow Housing Minister

At a lunchtime roundtable discussion with London First members Emma Reynolds MP, the Shadow Housing Minister set out the Labour Party’s position on a number of key themes in housing. The session, chaired by London First Director of Strategy and Policy John Dickie and kindly hosted by Savills, was a chance for Ms Reynolds to meet members closely involved in the sector as well as those with a close interest in the issues as major employers in London.

Ms Reynolds praised London First’s recent work on housing – in the form of our Moving Out and Home Truths reports – and clearly set out housing policy issues as a priority for the Labour party and a possible incoming Labour government. In her opening remarks she set out the central tenets of Labour’s critique of the current government in housing – a lack of action to address housing supply and the poor standards in the private rented sector and the need to address them. Framing her arguments, she emphasised housing being a particular issue for young people, especially in London, with many still living at home with parents unable to get on the property ladder or find suitable accommodation in private rented sector. She noted that House of Commons research had shown that by 2020 as many as 5 million young people could still be living at home.

Ms Reynolds went on to pick out some of the key themes from the work undertaken by Sir Michael Lyons for the Labour Party which look at addressing the issues in housing supply and the need for reforms in the private rented sector to protect the rights and standards afforded to tenants. She also reiterated Labour’s desire to deal with the issue of empty properties, a problem she saw as particularly acute in London.

A lively and varied discussion followed with questions on the need for reforms to planning process, the need for institutional investment in the residential sector, the use of public sector land, addressing the issue of empty properties, the role of the social housing sector, the impact of housing pressures on major businesses as employers and promoting innovation in the sector.

Contact: Richard Gardner, rgardner@londonfirst.co.uk

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