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Guaranteed Rental Scheme | Mayor’should hold housing powers

Guaranteed Rental Scheme – Mayor’should hold housing powers

The London mayor should be given power over housing benefits in the capital, a think tank has urged.

Newly re-elected London Mayor Boris Johnson must make housing in the capital a policy priority, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research said.

The report calls for the mayor to be given new, decentralised powers over housing benefit as part of a rethink of welfare reform.

It suggests raising the Local Housing Allowance caps in London by £10 per week; and ultimately devolving power, resources and responsibility for housing, including housing benefits, to the mayor.

Andy Hull, senior research fellow at the think tank, said: “London is facing a housing crisis exacerbated by the rest of the UK’s reluctance to fund housing benefit costs in the capital. Families who find themselves living with a shortfall in their rent as a result of benefit changes are likely to struggle to find affordable alternatives because of the shortage and high cost of housing in London.

“The mayor should be able to determine how housing benefit is allocated across London and set the relevant limits in line with prevailing market and economic conditions. This would enable the mayor to adjust the current caps and remove the worst iniquities which he spoke out against during his campaign.”

The report also recommends tougher taxes on super-rich foreign buyers to help to fund the extra homes the capital needs. It advocates a new “piggy bank tax” of 2% a year on overseas buyers of London properties worth more than £2 million – a measure the Government is consulting on.

Analysis by the think tank shows that by 2025 London faces a housing gap of 325,000 homes unless serious action is taken.

Mr Hull said: “London’s housing crisis is a crisis of affordability, for buyers and renters alike. Without a major increase in housing supply, it is hard to see a way out. London’s sheer scale and its particular economics mean that national housing policies frequently do not fit with the reality of housing in London and have a distorted impact on those who live in the city.”

The average property price in the capital is £345,298, up 2.8% on last year and 121% higher than the national average, meaning fewer Londoners can afford to own their own home. A little more than half (53%) of the capital’s residents own, compared with two-thirds nationally.

Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hhCuUU3jYxW0-34K5c7_PqeZAETQ?docId=N0134251336357131344A

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