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How Tessa Jowell Will Tackle London's Housing Crisis

01/06/2015 12:35 BST | Updated 01/06/2016 10:59 BST

London's housing crisis - three words we hear all the time, yet in recent years we have heard precious little about solving it. Lots of rhetoric and handwringing but no substance.

And it is a crisis. Anyone who lives in London can see that. As an MP my surgeries are packed with housing problems - dodgy landlords, tenants being ripped off, families priced out of the market. It affects us all.

That's why Tessa Jowell's mayoral campaign is so exciting - she has put housing at the very centre of her One London vision. And it's not the usual slogans and wishful thinking we too often hear from politicians when they want to win elections. It's a serious plan from a serious politician. From the Olympics to Sure Start, Tessa has delivered for London before. Faced with the housing crisis, she can do so again.

Tessa's plan starts with Homes for Londoners - a powerful new way to tackle the crisis. Homes for Londoners will get our city building the homes we need - Tessa will get London building again for the first time since the days of the GLC.

Tessa has already identified a great place to start - public land. TFL owns enough land to fill the entire borough of Camden. Tessa will start building on it straight away, and she will include real help for first time buyers - through a rent-to-buy scheme which means Londoners will be able to buy their first home without the need for unaffordable deposits.

One of the reasons we lost the General Election is because too many people thought we cared a lot about the top and the bottom but had nowhere near enough to say to those in the middle. The dream of home ownership is fundamental to many people's sense of ambition here in London - that's why Tessa is absolutely right to offer Londoners real help to get on the housing ladder.

But it doesn't stop there - last week Tessa outlined a broad vision to finally tackle the housing crisis in London. She showed real creativity, and a genuine, workable plan.

For renters, Tessa will create a new generation of purpose built rented homes, bringing choice and quality at a reasonable rent. And she will champion the rights of the boroughs to intervene in the private rented sector to drive up the quality of homes.

Last Wednesday morning, Tessa joined enforcement officers on a raid in Newham to stand up for tenants' rights and announce her plans for landlord registration.

Tessa's plans include a smart way to turn the housing crisis into an opportunity. She will help young Londoners into work by investing in the skills they need to get on - and London needs them to have these skills if we are to finally going to start building the homes we need.

She's brimming with ideas - she has proposals to tackle the empty homes scandal which sees tens of thousands of homes lie empty year after year whilst hundreds of thousands of Londoners are trapped in temporary accommodation or stuck on social housing waiting lists. And she's promised to build real communities where Londoners of all walks of life live side by side rather than allowing central London to be emptied of everyone except the very rich.

I've spoken to Tessa about her plans for housing and I know what she's announced so far is just the start.

London's housing crisis is not new - but we never see it tackled with the urgency it deserves. That's why Tessa's plan is different, and that's why Tessa is different.

If we want to deliver the change that London needs, we need to win, we need to have a plan, and we need someone to deliver. On all three counts it has to be Tessa - that's why I and so many other Londoners are joining the movement.

Joan Ryan is the Labour MP for Enfield North