The Conservative mayoral candidate defends his housing plan on ITV debate
Alexandra Warren is a freelance journalist.
Shaun Bailey has insisted his housing plan which requires a £5000 deposit and around £1000 monthly rent is affordable for Londoners.
If elected, Bailey has promised to build 100,000 new shared-ownership homes in London at £100,000 each, saying that this will help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.
The Conservative mayoral candidate was criticised in January after suggesting that homeless families could save £5,000 for a deposit.
But Bailey doubled down on the policy on last night’s ITV mayoral debate saying ‘of course it’s affordable’.
He said: “How many Londoners pay significantly more than that in rent? I will give people in London the ability to own.
“Imagine for a second you’re watching this programme now. I could be the way you don’t have to deal with a dodgy landlord.”
Bailey’s comments were questioned by Lib Dem candidate Luisa Porritt, who asked: “Who’s going to be able to afford your homes? How do people save that while paying those rents?”
Green candidate Sian Berry also expressed her skepticism of the plan, saying: “£5,000 is the deposit. Who’s got that?”
Minimum wage in the UK for 23 year olds and over is currently £8.91, meaning that a 35 hour work week would give an average monthly salary of £1,351.
This would leave just £351 to live on after the rent payment, without taking into account any savings for a deposit.
The plan also seems to ignore those who are not in full time employment.
In an interview with Inside Housing in January, Bailey said he would encourage Londoners in temporary accommodation to apply for the shared ownerships houses.
When asked about the deposit, he said: “I don’t think the £5,000 will [be a problem]. The mortgage application thing might be a bit tougher. They could save for it.”
When pressed on whether a homeless family in a bed and breakfast could save the £5,000 required, Bailey said: “Not all of them, but some people could. A full proportion of people could.”
Under the shared ownership scheme, people buy 20% to 70% of their home with a mortgage, and pay a subsidised rent on the rest.
It is often seen as a way for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder, but has some drawbacks including service charges.
In the debate Bailey was also pressed on how it would be possible to build 100,000 houses.
He said: “I will start a developer in City Hall, run by me, backed by me and to deliver. The mayor has failed to deliver on housing and we’ve seen the results across London.”
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