Diane Abbott says soaring housing prices threaten Hackney’s diversity and local government must act to control them.
“It falls on local authorities and the mayor to recognise that the social and racial diversity of areas like Hackney is important and should be preserved,” the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP said at Abney Park cemetery in an event marking Black History Month.
Many of Hackney’s long-standing communities developed following the Second World War due to the borough’s cheap housing prices, but according to Abbott “that seems like a remote time now”.
Land Registry statistics published in September revealed that the average price of a home in Hackney today is £637,299, an increase of almost 1000 per cent over 20 years.
“The things people like about London rest on London being a city where people of all sorts of salaries can live. And it rests on the cultural diversity,” she said.
Rent controls, higher council taxes on empty properties, special levies on non-domiciled residents and more social housing developments were among the political measures favoured by Abbott to protect Hackney’s long-standing residents.
“People sometimes talk as if diversity just happens. People had to campaign for it. It was the campaigning of that era which has given London the diversity that it has today.”
Photo by Policy Exchange.