‘Housing crisis’, a crucial issue for London’s voters

19 Apr 18

‘Housing crisis’ – two words that I mull over almost every day, and it seems I’m not the only one. Results from a recent London First survey show these words are also at the forefront of London voters’ thoughts, particularly in the context of upcoming May elections.
Results from the survey indicates that most London voters (74%) agree that there is a housing shortage in the capital along with 90% of local councillors.

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‘Housing crisis’ – two words that I mull over almost every day, and it seems I’m not the only one. Results from a recent London First survey show these words are also at the forefront of London voters’ thoughts, particularly in the context of upcoming May elections.

Results from the survey indicates that most London voters (74%) agree that there is a housing shortage in the capital along with 90% of local councillors.

Whilst there is no real debate about the existence of a housing shortage, it doesn’t always translate into clear campaigning messages that councillors push to London voters. A total of 43% of Londoners stated that a representative who is committed to building more homes would most likely get their vote in the May elections whereas only 29% of councillors believed that they would receive support from voters if they were committed to housebuilding.

Housing along with Brexit and the NHS were regarded as the three most crucial issues influencing how Londoners will vote. As local Councils are not heavily involved with matters relating to Brexit and the NHS, tackling the current housing shortage should be a great opportunity for councillors to set themselves apart from a national agenda, and make a real difference locally.

When digging deeper into the results, it was noted that 43% of renters and those aged 25-49 (39%) were the highest contingent of voters who stated that the housing shortage as their main concern. The views of home owners and those aged 65+ differed greatly with only 15% of home owners and 17% of the older age groups stating that housing was their key concern. The results come as no surprise as the younger age groups, most likely London’s renters would bear the brunt of the housing shortage as they aspire to buy and invest in new homes.

Whilst every issue has its challenges, it is clear from this survey that addressing the housing shortage should be the central focus for local councillors as they look to attract ‘generation rent’ voters. Plus, if the annual housing target of 64,935 (cited in the draft London Plan 2016) is to be met, Councils must work extremely hard to deliver housing within their Local Borough’s. The starting point for this change needs to be a clear commitment from Councillors that they are serious about tackling the housing crisis by putting forward a pro-housing campaign in upcoming local elections.

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