London councillor resigns over house prices

Camden ward member says she can’t afford to buy in the borough.

Shared owners prop up housing associations’ falling sales figures

A London councillor says the capital’s councils risk being run only by the retired or members with trust funds after resigning because she cannot afford a home on her patch.

Maeve McCormack, 30, stepped down as a Labour councillor representing Camden Council’s Gospel Oak ward citing rising house prices mean she cannot afford to buy in the area.

To stand for election, council candidates must live, work, or own property in a local authority area.

In a post reproduced in full below, McCormack warns that she is among a number of councillors serving London’s inner-boroughs being forced out by rising rents and house prices.

“I’m aware of three of four councillors in Camden alone and there are other boroughs where this is a growing issue too.

“There is a risk of local politicians being increasingly unrepresentative – we can’t just have people who are retired or with trust funds making decisions for our communities.”

A Conservative Camden councillor, Tom Currie, announced last month that he would not stand in next year’s local elections, citing one reason as the need “to find a home that’s a bit more affordable than central London”.

On her earnings as a PR consultant, McCormack says she cannot afford to buy a flat in Camden – her home for the past eight years – because the average property price is more than £1 million.

Elected in 2014 basic allowance as a councillor was £9,751.

London Councils, the body representing local authorities in the capital, would not comment specifically on the issue of councillors being priced out of their communities.

A spokeswoman said: “London Councils has maintained a one-size-fits-all approach will not work — and that we must see a variety of homes, of a range of tenures built to offer housing solutions for all Londoners.”

 

Maeve McCormack – resignation post

“Today I’ve handed in my resignation as a Camden councillor. I wanted to explain why.

I’ve had to make a really tough choice between what I love doing and where I can afford to live now and in the future.

Sadly the ongoing housing crisis affects councillors too, and high prices have now forced me to move out of Camden to live elsewhere.

It has been a real privilege to serve the residents of Gospel Oak as their councillor, and I know they will be in safe hands with my ward colleagues Larraine Revah and Theo Blackwell, who I have greatly enjoyed working with over the last four years. In that time, I’ve been really proud of the work which, as Camden Labour, we’ve delivered for Gospel Oak — new council homes in Bacton, major redevelopment at St Dominic’s, Carlton and Gospel Oak primary schools and more.

I will always be proud to have been a member of Camden Labour group, which continues to deliver for Camden residents despite financial constraints. Gospel Oak has benefited hugely from the commitment of councillors across Labour group — it’s thanks to my, now former, colleagues that we have been able to deliver much needed new homes, investment in local schools and much more. I know that work will continue.”

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