Deputy Mayor for Housing, Tom Copley
Tom Copley is a member of the London Assembly and a councillor on Lewisham London Borough Council. Having been elected to City Hall in 2012, he has served as a Housing Spokesperson for the Labour Group on the Assembly, is a member of several of the Assembly’s Committees including the Transport and Planning Committees and is a former chair of the Housing Committee. In January 2020, it was announced that Copley would take up the post of Deputy Mayor of Housing for London, following the departure of James Murray, who was elected as a Member of Parliament for Ealing North in the 2019 General Election.
Prior to his career in politics, Copley worked for several campaigning organisations, including anti-fascist organisations Searchlight and Hope Not Hate. He was a local organiser for the Labour Party in Camden and helped Ken Livingstone’s campaign to be selected as Labour’s candidate for the 2012 London mayoral election. He is an ardent campaigner on LGBTQ+ issues.
Copley was elected to the London Assembly in 2012 - the youngest member to ever be elected to City Hall- and was re-elected in 2016. He has been re-selected to stand in the 2020 London Assembly election.
He is a member of the Fabian Society, as well as two of the country’s largest trade unions, Unite the Union and the GMB.
Copley has campaigned extensively on housing issues, challenging previous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson on his housing record throughout his tenure as Mayor; he was critical of the Government’s ‘starter home’ policy in the Housing and Planning Bill in 2015, believing it would crowd out other forms of traditionally affordable housing, and called Johnson’s Garden Bridge project “one of incompetence, arrogance and recklessness, but also of privilege and power.”
In 2019, Copley called Westminster City Council’s plans to demolish several buildings on the Ebury Bridge Estate for a regeneration scheme “underhand and unscrupulous” and accused the council of using a planning loophole to “dodge” scrutiny from the Mayor and residents. He called on the Leader of the Council at the time, Nickie Aiken, to implement a residents’ ballot to ensure the planning process was more transparent and reflective of the needs of the community.
Copley has been vocal in his opposition to Right to Buy publishing research last year that showed that London Boroughs spend more than £22m a year renting back the homes sold through the policy and called for the scheme to be abolished. In another report, Copley called for an end to Permitted Development rights for conversions to residential homes, arguing that the policy allowed developers to get away with not contributing to affordable housing and led to poor quality homes.
Of his appointment as the new Deputy Mayor of Housing for London, Copley said “the housing and homelessness crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing our city. Our goal should be a city where everyone has access to a decent home that they can afford. I will work together with London’s councils, housing associations, homelessness charities and housing campaigners towards achieving that goal.”
In an article on Labour List, Copley wrote that solving the housing crisis would require strong national leadership and said solutions to the crisis included the “restoration of meaningful grant for a programme of mass social house building; changing the law to allow councils to buy up land more cheaply; reforms to private tenancies to give tenants security of tenure and to stop landlords hiking up rents.”
Copley is backing Lisa Nandy in the Labour leadership elections.
3 February 2020 | Emily MacPherson-Smith