London set for divided future

Speaking at the Westminster Social Policy Forum Keynote Seminar at Sixty One Whitehall Hayward said the eclectic mix of people living in the capital could become a thing of the past as people are forced to move further and further away from Central London.

She said: “It’s absolutely astronomical, and if we continue to let the private rental sector burgeon this way in Central London we are going to have a hollowing out of the types of people who live here.

“So you will have to be very, very poor or very, very rich and there will be literally nothing in between.”

With the average 2-bed property in Camden requiring a household income of £70,000 to rent, or £440,000 to buy, Hayward said the capital was at a crossroad in terms of housing.

She added: “It’s really important for the people who teach in our schools, police our streets, and run our big retail chains.

“It will transform what our capital city is. Housing has hit crisis levels across all tenure types, but the private rental sector is a particular part of the problem.

“As it grows in number and cost it prevents people from being able to save up; people are forced to move further and further out.”

“We need people of different backgrounds in London.”

Lord Best, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group, who opened the forum, echoed her concerns.

He said: “We are here at a very important time in terms of housing for London.

“There’s a terrible feeling that we are going backwards.”

He spoke of having to deal with homeless in Ealing, while he noted that many people are already being priced out of the central boroughs.

He added: “What we can do is to address the issue; look at what solutions we can do. To look at what action we can take across an absolute tsunami of misery that is sweeping across our city.

“It is in many ways the private rented sector which is taking the strain. But it is also the subject of so much attention.

“It is an area that maybe we neglected in the past.”