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Conservatives’ London mayoral candidate calls for more affordable homes in London in housing bill

Conservatives’ London mayoral candidate calls for more affordable homes in London in housing bill

Zac Goldsmith, the Conservatives’ London mayoral candidate, has said he will propose amendments to the government’s housing bill to require local authorities to build two affordable homes for every one they sell off in London.

Speaking during the bill’s second reading in the Commons, the Tory MP said he supported the proposed legislation in principle, but that it needed amending to “guarantee it works for Londoners”.

“I stood on a manifesto, like all of us on these benches, which committed us to help introduce this bill,” said Goldsmith. “But there is no doubt, as the frontbench accepts, I believe, that this bill does need amending.

“London council homes are far more valuable than elsewhere and without a change we are going to see a disproportionate flow of resources out of London. So I want to amend this bill to guarantee it works for Londoners.”

The government’s housing and planning bill will require councils to sell the top third of their most valuable council homes from their remaining stock to part fund the extension of right to buy to housing association homes. The remaining profit is intended to fund a one-for-one replacement of affordable housing in the area.

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“We should extend the right to buy but at the same time we must gain significant number of low-cost homes and we know that is possible,” said Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park.

“The amendment I will table after this debate will ask for a binding guarantee London will see a net gain in affordable housing as a consequence of this policy, a guarantee that in addition to the replaced housing association homes London will see at least two low-cost homes built for every single high-value home sold.”

The bill will not apply in Scotland, where right to buy is being abolished, and Monday’s debate was the first under the new English votes for English laws rules. Once the bill passes its second reading in the Commons a so-called grand committee of English MPs, and one of English and Welsh MPs, will be required to consent to relevant clauses.

Goldsmith said he had secured support for his amendment from every backbench London Tory MP and he urged Labour MPs to “resist the temptation just briefly to wave flags” and to join his campaign.

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