London's Housing Crisis

House prices in much of London and the south-east have soared to well above their previous peaks in 2007 but have plummeted by at least 20% across large parts of Wales, the Midlands and the north over the same period, according to a comprehensive new study of the "great housing divide."

This week Labour's shadow minister for London, Sadiq Khan, unveiled plans to help Londoners who are trying to get on the housing ladder, and those struggling to pay rents in the overcrowded rental market.

The measures include:

■ Using the tax system to prevent so many people from overseas snapping up newly built homes in London. It is estimated that around 75% of new homes are now bought by foreigners.

■ Offering incentives to private landlords, such as taking over management duties for them, if the landlords give guaranteed tenancies of three to five years and agree to raise rents by the rate of inflation at most. If these do not work, Khan says, "an alternative could be to explore giving renters and families a right to longer term tenancies and predictable rents".

■ Lifting the cap on council borrowing to allow councils to build more homes.

■ Building a group of "garden cities" close to the capital to relieve pressure in London. New town development corporations would be given financial backing and greater powers to build.

Read the full article in the Guardian here.

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