THE BLOG

Tessa Has What It Takes to Tackle London's Housing Crisis

05/08/2015 17:01 BST | Updated 05/08/2016 10:59 BST

Every Londoner knows that the single biggest issue facing this city is our housing crisis. There simply aren't enough homes, and too many of our existing homes are unaffordable.

People in every corner of the housing market are buckling under the strain - from first-time buyers unable to get on the ladder, to those renting social housing and finding their options ever more limited; from owners struggling under the weight of gigantic mortgages to those renting expensive and often dangerously run-down private accommodation. Almost no one is immune.

To tackle London's housing crisis and make sure Londoners get the affordable homes they need, we require something special. We need a Mayor with vision, determination and an ability to deliver results. We need someone who has bold but achievable ideas, and who can convince all sorts of different people to help make those ideas a reality. In short, we need a winner who can deliver.

That's why I'm supporting Tessa Jowell to be Labour's candidate for London mayor. She is the only candidate who has everything that's required to tackle London's housing crisis. She has the broad appeal needed to win the mayoral election; she has the ideas to make a difference on housing; and above all, she has the proven track record of delivery which would give London a route through the crisis. She can win, she has the ideas and she can deliver. That's what she offers, and that's what we need.

Anyone who has met Tessa knows how good she is at appealing to a broad cross-section of the population. In a recent poll asking Londoners who they thought would be the best Labour candidate for mayor, Tessa wasn't just well ahead among Labour voters - she had a solid lead among Conservative voters as well. After the shattering experience of 7th May, we are all sick and tired of losing elections. If we're going to win the London mayoral election next year, we need to pick the candidate that can reach across party divides.

Tessa has been a long-standing opponent of policies which clearly work against the interests of those trying to solve London's housing crisis. She has been fervently against the Government's right-to-buy extension to housing association tenants from the get-go; and she has fiercely opposed the hopeless 'vacant building credit' which allows developers to avoid their affordable housing responsibilities. That opposition bore fruit spectacularly this week, when a High Court decision quashed the vacant building credit.

But it's not all about opposition. Tessa has an exciting but achievable vision for getting London to build more homes. Her Homes for Londoners proposal would see London building again for the first time since the 1980s, starting on the Mayor's own land. This would make developments like Old Oak Common, where I have campaigned for a greater number of affordable homes, a much better deal for Londoners.

Finally, Tessa knows better than anyone how to see a plan through to completion. When she got Sure Start through and delivered the Olympics, what got results was above all her ability to reach out to all sorts of different people, to keep them in the room and to make sure everyone stayed on the same page. And that's exactly what is needed to tackle London's housing crisis. It's no good just hammering home the same message without trying to get results. The new mayor will have to reach out to borough leaders, housing associations, policy experts, the construction industry and many others, and make sure they are all in the business of improving London's housing situation. That's no mean feat, but Tessa has the skills and experience to step up to that task.

So I urge you to back her bid to be London mayor. We need a real leader - someone who can win, who knows what has to get done and who knows how to do it. And that's Tessa.