Tory London mayoral candidate: homeless can save for house deposit

Shaun Bailey’s claim that homeless people could afford £5,000 deposit prompts derision

The Conservative candidate for London mayor has sparked controversy after suggesting that homeless people in the capital would be able to save up for a £5,000 deposit to buy a share in a newly-built affordable home.

Shaun Bailey has promised to deliver 100,000 affordable homes with his £4bn housing budget if he wins the election in April, many of them shared ownership, of which buyers would be able to purchase a share for as little as £100,000.

Asked in an interview with Inside Housing how this policy would benefit the capital’s 62,670 households currently in temporary accommodation, Bailey said he would encourage them to apply for shared ownership properties.

Asked how these families would produce a £5,000 deposit and secure a mortgage, he said: “I don’t think the £5,000 will [be a problem]. The mortgage application thing might be a bit tougher … they could save for it, yeah.”

Pressed by the interviewer on whether he was suggesting a homeless family in bed and breakfast accommodation could afford a deposit, Bailey replied: “Not all of them, but some people could. A full proportion of people could.”

He added: “I know about that situation, I sofa surfed for years. You’re right, I definitely couldn’t have come up with £5,000, but those people I’m not expecting to or asking to. We’ll provide social housing for them.”

Bailey, 49, said his intention was to build 100,000 affordable homes of all tenures in the capital – with shared ownership making up the largest proportion. This would “help Londoners attain a ‘stake’ in the city and serve those whose incomes are too high to qualify for social housing but still cannot afford to buy in the city”.

Shared ownership involves residents taking out a mortgage for a 20% to 75% share in a newbuild home, often developed by housing associations, and renting the remainder.

Although it is seen as a way of giving first-time buyers a foot on the property ladder, there are also drawbacks, including annual service charges.

Bailey’s comments attracted widespread bewilderment on Twitter. The Liberal Democrat councillor and candidate for London mayor, Luisa Porritt said: “Oh dear, the Tory candidate is at it again. This time he’s suggesting homeless families ‘save up’ for a deposit. Just how out of touch can he get?”

Lambeth Labour councillor Ed Davie tweeted: “Famously, people living in poverty usually have at least £5,000 lying around – it’s amazing that it hasn’t occurred to them to simply buy a London property, which are well known for being really cheap. Thank God senior Tories are here to give out this good advice.”


Patrick Butler Social policy editor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Tories' London mayoral candidate criticised for comments that 'attack working class families'
Labour’s Angela Rayner among those angered by past and recent remarks about poor or homeless people

Heather Stewart Political editor

17, Jan, 2021 @5:33 PM

Article image
Corbyn: Labour would buy 8,000 properties for homeless people
Leader says party would also give local authorities power to seize properties left vacant

Alexandra Topping

28, Jan, 2018 @1:40 PM

Article image
London councils pay landlords £14m in 'incentives' to house homeless people
Almost 6,000 payments made in 2018 to secure housing for vulnerable people

Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent

25, Mar, 2019 @6:00 AM

Article image
Overcrowding in social housing in England soars to 24-year high
More than 300,000 households squeezed into too few rooms, official figures show

Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent

31, Jan, 2019 @11:50 AM

Article image
Tory councillor calls for homeless people's tents to be torn down
Kathryn Kelloway faces criticism after urging Cardiff council to clear its city centre

Frances Perraudin

25, Jan, 2019 @11:35 AM

Article image
Homeless man dies on 'doorstep' of Houses of Parliament
MPs criticise government after rough sleeper pronounced dead in Westminster area, London

Alexandra Topping

14, Feb, 2018 @6:28 PM

Article image
Shelter warns of leap in working homeless as families struggle
Charity blames high rents, freeze in housing benefit and shortage of social housing

Patrick Butler Social policy editor

22, Jul, 2018 @11:01 PM

Article image
Windsor council leader faces challenge over ‘remove homeless’ call
Simon Dudley, who said rough sleepers should be cleared ahead of royal wedding, is expected to survive no-confidence motion

Harriet Sherwood

28, Jan, 2018 @1:29 PM

Article image
Police bill risks criminalising homeless people, warn UK charities
Exclusive: letter to Robert Jenrick says urgent changes needed to bill to avoid threat of jail for rough sleeping

Peter Walker Political correspondent

08, Jul, 2021 @7:00 AM

Article image
Portuguese president calls London homeless man's death inhumane
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa speaks after Portuguese national found dead in Westminster underpass

Alexandra Topping and Ana de Liz

16, Feb, 2018 @3:46 PM