With the sheer wealth of excitement and opportunities central London offers, people gravitate to our city centre constituency both from across the country and the globe. This can place a massive burden on our precious social housing stock which is why, over my past nine years of serving as your local MP, housing has remained one of the biggest issues in my postbag.
The issue of social housing provision is perhaps not one people would traditionally associate with the Conservative Party. However, even my political opponents recognise the huge and continuing effort my team have put into housing matters on behalf of constituents – indeed the government’s own Housing Minister, Iain Wright, said of me in a parliamentary debate last year, ‘For an hon. Member who represents what is seen as an affluent area, the manner in which he represents all his constituents is testimony to his character’.
My campaigns on housing have included getting help for leaseholders in the face of massive major works bills resulting from the government’s Decent Homes initiative; prioritising local people for social housing properties; calling for a more flexible rental system so that those on low to middle incomes can live here; and financing new social housing developments in the economic downturn. Most recently, I played a leading role in cross-party efforts to stand up for Millbank residents against the Crown Estate’s proposals to break up this stable community.
My team and I have also worked hard to maintain excellent relationships with our constituency’s social housing providers, such as the Peabody Trust, as well as with many of our local homelessness charities so that we can help the most vulnerable in the area.
Conservatives are pledged to scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes valued up to £250 000, abolish Home Information Packs, and work with communities to set up Local Housing Trusts, to build new affordable homes for local people. Whereas Labour have curtailed the right of social tenants to own their home, a Conservative Government will make it easier for social tenants to own or part-own their home. This will not only help people up the housing ladder, but also ensure residents have greater pride and a greater stake in their local community.