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Simon Hughes welcomes Boris concordat on foreign investors

Simon Hughes MP has described Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson's voluntary concordat with property developers to ensure that new homes are offered for sale in the capital first as a "Liberal Democrat step forward".

Simon Hughes
Simon Hughes pictured last summer outside the Southside development in Union Street which was marketed overseas

On Tuesday Boris Johnson used his annual speech at MIPIM, the property industry trade fair in Cannes, France, to announce the launch of a voluntary agreement with leading London developers to counter criticism of the sale of new homes to overseas investors.

In his letter to developers the Mayor wrote: "New housing developments are a vital part of the infrastructure of a living and dynamic city. London is a global city and therefore will inevitably have an international element to its market.

"I do not in any way want to deter international investment – you can see astonishing transformation in London thanks to international investment and I recognise the important economic contributions migrants make to our city.

"You will understand however, I want Londoners to be able to live near where they work and to raise their families in our boroughs.

"Doubling house building must be of benefit to everyone in our city who contributes to our economy."

Bermondsey & Old Southwark MP Simon Hughes took up the issue in the House of Commons last summer.

"I am delighted to see that after months of campaigning from Liberal Democrats across London, BoJo has finally started to say no no to foreign investors who see London's housing market as no more than an investment opportunity," Mr Hughes said this week.

"The Mayor's new u-turn on housing policy is a small but welcome, fair, and Liberal Democrat step forward.

"By making sure that property is advertised and sold first to local residents, the Mayor has woken up from his non-interventionist slumber to give a bit more help to hard-working families and individuals who are struggling to get on the housing ladder.

"But we must do more to rebalance the London housing market to support the thousands of people who are priced-out of buying a home by the global super-rich many of whom are merely investing in a commodity not investing in our communities.

"In Government, Liberal Democrats have acted and reformed capital gains tax so that foreign owners of UK property will be taxed on property sales.

"But the Mayor of London and London councils in positions can do even more. London's Mayor and London councils must urgently consider other policies to put London's residents and London's workers at the front of the housing queue again."

Developers working in SE1 who have signed up to the Mayor's concordat include:
• Affinity Sutton
• Barratt London
• Berkeley Group
• Crest Nicholson
• Delancey
• Great Portland Estates
• Lend Lease
• Linden Homes
• Londonnewcastle
• Peabody

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