More must be done to address the rising inequality between the rich and poor in London, says the Green Party, which is calling for urgent action to make affordable, safe housing accessible to ordinary Londoners.
London has leap-frogged New York to become the destination of choice for Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI's) – people worth more than $30m – according to the eighth annual Wealth Report from global property consultants Knight Frank .
Jean Lambert, London's Green MEP, said:
"The effect of UHNWI's money flooding in to the overheating London property market is to drive house prices ever higher and force up rents. As London property becomes increasingly appealing to deep-pocketed Russian oligarchs, Arab petro-billionaires and others it also becomes increasingly beyond the grasp of ordinary Londoners who are priced out by sky-rocketing prices."
More than 700 'ghost mansions' – worth a total of £3 billion – lie empty and unused in London, an Evening Standard investigation revealed earlier this month. Meanwhile 800,000 people are on housing waiting lists.
The London Green Party, which recently released the hard-hitting 'Crumbs for London' report, is calling on the current and future governments to put the need for a home before the desire of investors for profits by building more genuinely affordable housing and introducing greater security of tenure and 'smart' rent controls for tenants in private rentals.
"Among the world's richest people, Britain is seen as the most desirable place for the next multi-million-dollar apartment with a view", reported Nico Hines, London Editor, The Daily Beast, adding: "Many UHNWIs see the luxury property market in these cities as a kind of global reserve currency that offers safety from fluctuating markets and unstable governments at home."