Sadiq Khan: 'Rents are forcing two-hour journeys for London workers'

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London - Credit: William Mata

Sadiq Khan says rising cost of living could decimate London’s “joyful diversity” with the poor being forced out.

On a visit to Hackney, the mayor of London reiterated his call for the government to give him powers to freeze private rents. 

Ministers rebuffed Labour’s calls for a freeze for two years – a move Mr Khan said would save the tenants £3,000.

“My worry is that the sort of people who need to be living in inner London – the cleaners, the junior nurses, the junior doctors – will not be able to live in the communities they serve,” he said.  

“[I have seen cases] where they are not in their community, travelling up to two hours each day to get to work.

“We do not want a situation where London is hollowed out, where people cannot afford to live here. We do not want to take the diversity away from London. One of the joys of our city is the mixture of peoples’ backgrounds and it is really important for the government to understand the everyday concerns that Londoners have.”

Private renters make up around a third of those living in the capital and those struggling to get by face rising energy bills, exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

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Mr Khan spoke on a visit to Gayhurst Community School in London Fields, where he inspected the progress of the eco-school street scheme. 

He added: “When I was younger, the sort of people who would rent in London were young professionals. Now the situation is that we have 2.4 million people [renting] including children. 

“For many the rent is going up every year and we also know Londoners are facing a number of challenges. From May, energy prices are going up, the cost of living is rising, and on top of that to have a rent increase – according to independent experts – of an additional £3,000 over the next two years." 

A DLUHC spokesperson said the government offers support including discretionary housing payments, funding for renters in arrears and a £500 million household support fund.

“Recent evidence suggests that rent controls would discourage investment and lead to declining property standards, which would not help landlords or tenants," they said.

“Our Private Rented Sector White Paper in the spring will also set out reforms to make renting fairer for all, including banning ‘no fault’ evictions to protect tenants.”