Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick wants to beat the borough’s housing problem


- Credit: Archant

Whoever you are, one of your first and foremost concerns will be whether you have a home. This is especially so for Londoners where the price of living has skyrocketed. It’s safe to say that if the country is in the midst of a housing crisis, we’re bearing the brunt of it in the capital where runaway rents and prices are leaving Londoners very concerned about their future.

In Tower Hamlets the average home now costs almost £400,000, that’s £228,000 more than the national average and 13 times the average pay in the borough. If you’re renting then the average yearly rent can easily take up to 70% of family earnings which makes saving for a deposit near impossible. Whether you’re living on the Isle of Dogs or in the middle of Poplar, renting or buying locally is getting harder.

Of course the local housing crisis is related to a London wide problem and London’s crisis is connected to what’s happening across the country. We’re not building enough homes to keep up with demand, we’re not helping enough people to buy their first home and we’re not doing enough to help people with excessive rents and charges.

I think we can all agree action is needed now to provide for this generation and the next. Across the country, in London and in Tower Hamlets this means bricks and mortar. Increasing the supply will bring down the price.

The good news is political parties are waking up to this fact with each of them making big promises on housing. The Labour Party has made it clear where we stand and I’m supporting action that will mean more affordable housing in Tower Hamlets and importantly social housing to make a dent in the borough’s massive waiting list. I also agree we must do everything we can for those renting which means cracking down on rogue landlords and extortionate service charges so people can afford to move up the ladder when the time’s right. We need better leasehold protection as a priority too!

If we carry on as we are, by 2020 there will be two million too few homes in Britain and many more people will be struggling to find a suitable place to live. We’re at a critical point where we can act now or face the consequences later.