Since the 2008 financial crisis, it has been well documented that rental growth has raced ahead of wage inflation.
This is especially true for those who work in the public sector. The problem is exacerbated in London. Not only has rent soared to an all-time high, but London’s population is growing and is expected to reach 9.8 million by 2025, according to the ONS.
With more and more people looking for housing, the outlook is tough, particularly for London’s key workers.
Over the past 12 months, there has been a significant increase in the level of public space being sold off to giant corporations. But is selling their assets really the best solution for local authorities or should they be using this space to provide housing solutions?
Local authorities need to be more creative with the space we already have. They would be much better off maximising the value of their vacant buildings through managed guardian schemes, for example. A well-run guardian scheme provides people with an affordable rental solution close to their place of work. It also gives the local authority a cost-effective solution to managing its vacant buildings.
Guardian schemes have other advantages, too. Aside from the obvious tax benefits, enhanced security and lower insurance premiums, guardian schemes align with the values of local communities and provide a realistic alternative for London’s young professionals.
Initiatives that take a vacant space and use it to drive the economy, provide housing or give something back to the community should be encouraged. While it might not solve the housing crisis, it can provide a sustainable housing solution in the interim: a win-win for all parties.