Sadiq Khan promises to solve housing “mess” at first People’s Question Time in Wembley
PUBLISHED: 12:45 04 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:56 08 November 2016
The Mayor of London said he is determined to fix the housing “mess” he inherited from his predecessor at his first Question Time event in Wembley.
Hundreds of residents packed out Brent Civic Centre to hear Sadiq Khan’s first People’s Question Time event, hosted by Brent and Harrow assembly member Navin Shah.
The free, twice-yearly event is an opportunity for Londoners to quiz the Labour Mayor and assembly members on the issues facing the capital.
Questions ranged from transport and air pollution to female genital mutilation, hate crime, Brexit and investment.
The most popular, and rowdy, issue centred on the lack of affordable housing.
Mr Khan said: “Last year 13 per cent of homes built last year were affordable, not enough. It’s a mess I’ve inherited and I’m determined to fix it.”
Assembly member Sian Berry of the Green Party said a survey she had done on the private sector indicated Brent residents experience the most damp in their homes, the highest number of respondents saying they had problems getting repairs done and residents paying nearly 54 percent of take home pay on their rent.
Among Mr Khan’s “serious solutions” to the problem was to “build genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent”.
He also pledged to overhaul the private rented sector, with a social or council rent for manual workers, a London living rent which would take only “a third of local average earnings” and also part rent/part by shared ownership homes.
He promised to look at prefabrication homes and pledged not to spend “any taxpayers money” on the £185 million Garden Bridge Project, set up by previous Mayor Boris Johnson.
Willesden based charity Advice4Renters (A4R) challenged his plans to run a London wide letting agency and asked him if he’d back a tenancy-run letting agency Harlesden and Stonebridge residents are piloting.
Although he didn’t respond to her request, the Mayor said his plan for a London Wide Lettings Agency, which will make it easier for private renters who “won’t be ripped off” by charges, was still going ahead.
Jacky Peacock OBE, director of A4R, said: “He clearly is taking the housing problem seriously. We have a huge crisis. Any way it’s going to be resolved is if he can build more houses because then the market can adjust accordingly.”
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Brent Council leader, said: “It was fantastic to welcome the Mayor of London to Brent Civic Centre for his first People’s Question Time and even better to have a packed hall full of residents asking challenging and thought provoking questions.
“Of course London has it’s challenges just like any other city but London is the greatest city on earth and we in Brent will play our part in working closely with the Mayor to deliver his priorities.”