Boris Johnson’s record of housing failure continues

23rd June, 2013 8:56 am

It could only have passed by the wealthiest of Londoner, but London is in the grip of a housing crisis – what the Mayor, Boris Johnson, rightly describes in his ‘2020 Vision’ as the “gravest crisis the city faces”.

One of the most abhorrent elements of this housing crisis is that at a time when families on low and middle-incomes are genuinely struggling to put a roof over their heads, over 72,000 homes are lying empty in London; 24,000 of which are long-term empty.

Yet, given the strength of Boris’s rhetoric, it is astounding that the Mayor recorded a 99% underspend on his empty homes programme during the last financial year.

The government handed the Mayor £15.7 million to spend on bringing empty homes back into use between 2012 and 2015, £3.6 million of which Boris allocated for spending in 2012/13.

In the end, Boris has spent only £39,000 – a little over a quarter of his own mayoral salary – on bringing a paltry eight homes back into use. This at a time when over 360,000 households are on London’s housing waiting lists.

Londoners will no doubt think something is going badly wrong and rightly recognise that on this issue the buck stops with the Mayor. It’s his responsibility and he needs to get a grip on this.

The Mayor’s Housing Adviser, Richard Blakeway, sounded less than confident when interviewed by BBC London, claiming simply that “my officers have told me that they will deliver this programme”.

Rhetoric is one thing, but the Mayor needs to start acting like we are in a housing crisis. Instead, what we have seen is an increasing pattern of failure.

In 2008 he pledged to end rough sleeping by 2012. Instead, the number of people sleeping rough in London has increased every single year and figures published this week showed that the number has doubled since he became Mayor.

On affordable housing, the number of homes being delivered has also dropped dramatically since Boris assumed responsibility, while he has also enthusiastically insists on pushing through the government’s Orwellian ‘Affordable Rent’ programme (affordable housing charged at up to 80% of market rent), which in parts of London such as Camden could result in ‘affordable’ – family-sized – homes that require a household income of £100,000. It’s as if the Mayor takes the view that all housing is affordable to someone!

The Mayor needs to get a grip on London’s housing crisis. If he genuinely believes it is the ‘gravest crisis the city faces’ then its time his actions began to reflect the rhetoric.

Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide member of the London Assembly and City Hall Labour’s Housing Spokesperson.

Latest

  • News Scotland “The watchword of Labour is always forward to the future” – Kezia Dugdale sets out her vision for Scottish Labour in major speech

    “The watchword of Labour is always forward to the future” – Kezia Dugdale sets out her vision for Scottish Labour in major speech

    Kezia Dugdale, one of the people standing to be next leader of the Scottish Labour Party following Jim Murphy’s resignation, will set out her vision for the party’s future today.   In a speech in Glasgow to the Scottish Fabians, she will argue that the party can’t afford to remain stuck in the past, warning: ‘the great danger in constantly reminding people of our past is that we look increasingly of the past’ Dugdale, who is currently the Deputy Leader of […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Labour has a self-inflicted gene pool problem

    Labour has a self-inflicted gene pool problem

    The Labour leadership hopefuls represent what Diane Abbott last week called a ‘spadocracy’. Three of the four declared candidates have previously been Special Advisers (SpAds) to various ministers over the past two decades. The argument for the prosecution goes that part of Labour’s problem is connecting to the average voter or to so-called ‘normal people’. Electing a(nother) SpAd as leader is unlikely to ameliorate this problem. If that is true, if Labour really should be avoiding the election of another […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour Lord and former Miliband advisor slams Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act

    Labour Lord and former Miliband advisor slams Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act

    Steward Wood, Labour Lord and former senior advisor to Ed Miliband, has criticised the Tories’ plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA). Writing in The Telegraph (£), Wood points out that although there was no pledge to scrap the HRA in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday Labour – and the public – shouldn’t “be fooled…this was a postponement not a cancellation.” Wood goes on to note that although the British Bill of Rights – which the Tories would use […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Video Yvette Cooper claims Labour were too “squeamish” when it came to talking about immigration

    Yvette Cooper claims Labour were too “squeamish” when it came to talking about immigration

    Last night in an interview on BBC Newsnight, Yvette Cooper claimed Labour was “squeamish” when it came to talking about immigration. Talking to Laura Kuenssberg, Cooper – one of four people in the running to be Labour’s new leader – argued that she believes immigration needed to be “controlled” and “managed”. Cooper argued that Labour’s policies on immigration before the election weren’t the problem, but their “squeamish” attitude when it came to talking about the subject was: “I think it’s […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News “Early years services will be a priority” – Liz Kendall marks out importance of education and party reform

    “Early years services will be a priority” – Liz Kendall marks out importance of education and party reform

    Liz Kendall made a speech in Leicester today (the city where her constituency is), where she laid out what inspired her to enter politics, why she feels early years services are a priority, and how the Labour Party needs to change. Kendall revealed some of her life story, explaining that she did not have an extraordinary background – and how her background affects the way she sees the barriers faced by children in the UK today. She said: “I’m standing here […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit