With a huge housing crisis, it’s a shame the Chancellor has again ruled out cutting the huge tax breaks for landlords.
I urged him to do this last year, but the UK will continue to subsidise private landlords with as much as £1.3 billion a year in mortgage interest tax relief that could be used for truly affordable homes.
Here’s my statement in reaction to today’s budget, which also gave the go-ahead for further work on Crossrail 2:
I welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to Crossrail 2. With the government covering only half the cost, it’s vital the next Mayor of London has plans to raise the rest. I will cut fares for outer Londoners and flatten the fare zones by 2025 and invest in new infrastructure by raising funds from people driving in our city. Other candidates are either leaving a gaping hole in the finances that threatens public transport and cycling investment, or have no plans to make fares fairer.
The early retention of business rates is welcome, but the government should give London more options to raise money through property taxes with even more fiscal devolution, so we don’t have to go to the Exchequer with a begging bowl for major projects.
On housing, I’m very disappointed that the Chancellor isn’t cutting the huge mortgage tax subsidy the Government currently gives to landlords. I have urged him to do this repeatedly, and wrote to him in November to demonstrate that the savings could be used by the Mayor of London to provide 16,000 additional truly affordable homes in London over the period of the next Mayoralty. The is the kind of measure he ought to be considering given the scale of our housing crisis, and I’m sorry he has again decided to rule it out.