TfL runs London's transport – now meet HfL, which could soon build its new housing

Labour's mayoral frontrunner wants to set up Homes for Londoners to build housing directly

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Indy Politics

The Mayor of London should take a direct role in building homes for the first time in 30 years, the frontrunner for Labour’s mayoral nomination has said.

Tessa Jowell,  the former Olympics minister, says she would set up “Homes for Londoners” (HfL) if elected – a city agency on a par with Transport for London (TfL).

The agency would build homes using public sector land and would be overseen by a dedicated Housing Commissioner appointed by the Mayor.

“It’s not enough for the Mayor to exhort others to build homes.  We’ve tried that – it hasn’t worked,” she said, officially launching her campaign for her party’s candidacy today.

“The next Mayor needs to take the lead, building thousands of homes that Londoners can afford on the vast swathes of land that the Mayor owns.

“On day one of my mayoralty, I will establish Homes for Londoners – a housing equivalent of Transport for London – led by a Homes Commissioner. Homes for Londoners will actively build homes as well as plan the development that London badly needs.”

Ms Jowell said London’s government would build homes for the first time since the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986.

 

She said she would begin by building 2,000 affordable homes a year on land owned by Transport for London, which amounts to 5,700 acres.

The Greater London Council took a role in building and running housing before its abolition by the Thatcher government.

Most of the estates maintained by the GLA were transferred either to local borough councils or housing associations when the body was closed down.

When the Greater London Authority was created by the last Labour government at the turn of the millennium it was not given the same borrowing or tax raising powers to build housing as the GLC had.

London Councils, which represents local authorities in London, says London needs to build 800,000 new homes by 2021 simply to keep pace with current demand.

A poll conducted by YouGov for the Evening Standard newspaper found that Ms Jowell was the runaway favourite to be Labour's candidate in the mayoral race with both Labour supporters and Londoners in general.

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