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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, will at Conservative Party Conference 2019 publish the latest edition of its magazine Centre Write, entitled “On the home front”. The magazine explores housing, neighbourhoods and towns, and includes an interview with the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, Shaun Bailey AM.

In his interview, Shaun Bailey AM said that London today is a city challenged by the divide between “the haves and have-nots, the socially liberal and free, and the socially downtrodden and trapped.”

Bailey claims that London has low levels of neighbourhood trust in some communities because people living in them “are under attack from knife crime, burglary, robbery, rape.” He also argues that low levels of trust are because there is an “environment in London where people at the top have done so much of passing the buck. They haven’t taken responsibility. They’ve made so many election pledges and broken them all.” 

To better support deprived communities, Shaun Bailey AM outlined several policies and ambitions, including:

  • Granting a legal right to return for residents in any redevelopment of social housing
  • Prioritising the building of a lot of social housing
  • The creation of ‘Housing for London’ to collate together all the housing plans and spending of the Mayor of London to deliver housing at the scale that Londoners need
  • Opposing the current Mayor of London’s ban on building of brownfield sites and target for family homes
  • Protecting the Green Belt
  • Designing a new ‘London mortgage’
  • Support local authorities to name, shame and blacklist rogue landlords

In his interview, Shaun Bailey AM said:

“What’s very interesting is when you campaign, people talk about a Conservative Party you just don’t recognise. People talk about a party for the rich, people talk about selfishness.”

“People talk about helping the poor. The single biggest help to the poor is employment. The Conservatives have consistently provided employment to the poorest parts of the country, including London, whereas Labour Governments have consistently left more unemployment than they found.”

“The idea that it’s a challenge between the haves and have-nots, the socially liberal and free, and the socially downtrodden and trapped, there is some truth in that. But I see the job of the London Mayor to deliver – and when you deliver on housing, on safety, on transport, you break down those barriers and truly make London open.”

In an article for Centre Write, Andrew Boff AM, the Deputy Chair of the Housing Committee in the Greater London Assembly, wrote:

“In our rush to increase overall numbers of homes – important though that is – we fail to pay enough attention to the types of homes we are building, and who they are for.”

“Mayor Sadiq Khan’s housing strategy has abolished targets for affordable family homes…which means that there is no incentive for public housing funds to be invested in family-sized homes, nor for developers to deliver them.”

“So how can we get more family homes built? To start with, housing policies need to be less about bean counting and more about common sense. If a development has a higher level of family-sized homes, even if it means fewer homes overall, that should be seen as a positive outcome rather than a negative one.”

Bob Blackman MP, a member of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, wrote for Centre Write on homelessness:

“We must examine how to increase the supply of good quality housing stock, while not burdening local authorities or housing associations, and ensuring developers stick to promises and crack on with new build completions.”

“My solution would be for planning permission to be sought before public land is sold for the type of residential development which the area requires, according to demand and factors such as the density of the local population.”

“I would insert a clause in rental agreements which would give any tenant who continuously occupies one of these properties on previously public land for ten years without break the right to buy at the market value at time of occupation.”

This edition of Bright Blue’s Centre Write magazine also includes contributions from the Rt Hon David Lidington MP and Lord O’Neill.