Ex Boris Johnson adviser unveils housing-focused Lond…

Ex Boris Johnson adviser unveils housing-focused Lond…

A former adviser to Boris Johnson who is running to be the Tory’s candidate for London Mayor has promised to put housing at the centre of his campaign and says agents can help address the market crisis.

Samuel Kasumu, who worked as a special adviser to Boris Johnson in Downing Street’s civil society unit between August 2019 and May 2021, has released new polling today that shows housing is a key and often overlooked issue among Londoners.

The 35-year-old, who is a councillor for Welwyn Hatfield. commissioned research from Opinium that showed 38% of Londoners rank housing as an important issue, just one percentage point behind the economy and on par with the NHS.

He highlights that housing doesn’t usually feature among the top 10 in national polling.

Speaking exclusively to Estate Agent Today, Kasumu said: 

“House prices have gone up over a number of years.

“There hasn’t been enough housebuilding and the London Mayor’s own housing plan is behind and is already below what is required.

“We have situation where demand is always going to increase but supply has been steadily low.

“There is an assumption that if you are proactive in resisting development that will yield an electoral advantage.

“There is limited evidence that this is the case but it sends a signal that you are not empathising with the plight of Londoners.”

If selected as the Conservative Party candidate for London Mayor next year, Kasumu said he would publish annual house-building league tables for London boroughs. 

Councils in the bottom quartile would then be asked to attend a public hearing where they will have to explain their poor results.

He would also release brownfield sites owned by the Mayor of London and TFL for development.

Kasumu added: “Transparency is important.

“When elections come around it is for councils to explain to their residents why they can’t afford to live in the area.”

He suggested agents could also play a part in helping councils decide on the types of homes to build and where, adding: “Agents have access to data around demand and also demographics.

“These types of things will help local authorities and advise and nudge people to consider different types of accommodation.”

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