It is a harsh and sad reality of London life that another terrorist attack is a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’ and this message comes directly from the Met Police. The national threat level from international terrorism has been ‘severe’ since 2014 and our ‘blue light’ emergency service workers will be critical to an immediate response.
In a recent report on our preparedness by Lord Harris, concerns were raised that high housing costs in London have left these ‘blue light’ emergency service workers £500 short per month of being able to afford a flat.
Indeed, half of London’s borough police officers live outside London and a London Chamber of Commerce report showed that 54% of frontline ‘blue light’ workers, including police, fire and paramedics, now have to commute into the city to work.
A solution is clear; the Mayor’s emerging London Plan must make prioritise new housing for these essential workers.
Sadly, these key workers often fall into the ‘housing gap’ – they earn too much to qualify for social housing or register provider housing but are unable to save enough for a deposit to enable them to live in the communities they seek to serve and protect.
One way of tackling the issue could be to encourage the Built-to-Rent industry to agree to a standard where Discounted Market Rent units must be available to key workers. To use mayoral language, give them ‘first dibs’.
‘When’ not ‘if’ the worst happens, surely we don’t want people having to commute in from outside of London. The city needs to identify how key emergency service workers in London can live in London to keep us safe.
“Lord Harris Launches Report On Improving London’s Terror Preparedness | London City Hall”. London.gov.uk. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.