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.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]

Latest

  • Featured Local Government News Scotland Wales Britain decides: liveblog 2016

    Britain decides: liveblog 2016

    We want to hear from Labour activists and supporters today so please send us your stories and pictures [email protected] The pick of the submissions will be added to the liveblog. Running the liveblog overnight is Sarah Pine, so you can also send tips on Twitter @mssarahpine 08.02 – The North Wales list has also been announced, but it has returned no Labour Assembly Members. Labour currently has 26 members, the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru have seven each, UKIP has two and the […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Wales Furniss and Elmore elected MPs in an “emphatic message” against austerity

    Furniss and Elmore elected MPs in an “emphatic message” against austerity

    Labour have held two crucial Parliamentary seats in what Gill Furniss, one of the new MPs, has said is an “emphatic message” to David Cameron from her constituency people are against his “uncaring government”. Furniss won the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough seat in last night’s by-election. She won 14,097 votes, of  66.5 per cent of the overall share – a jump from the 56.6 per cent Labour achieved in 2015. After winning, Furniss said people have “had enough” of the […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Where are we now? The election results so far, explained

    Where are we now? The election results so far, explained

    I’ve been up all through the night following the results for our election liveblog. If you’re just joining us for the rest of the results throughout today, here’s where we are so far: England At the beginning of the night, John McDonnell said that the results of these elections would be “complex”. He was, in a way, proved correct. Labour is losing council seats across the country, but not as many as had been expected – only 24 at the […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured These election results show Labour’s made a significant start on the road to 2020

    These election results show Labour’s made a significant start on the road to 2020

    Labour is rebuilding its support and closing the gap the Tories had at the 2015 general election. That’s the first message from last night’s first wave of by-election and council election results. None of us doubts the scale of the challenge to assemble a winning electoral coalition for 2020. But the early returns show Labour has made a significant start and performed better than many predicted. The clear signs are that we are doing better than last year, when we […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Election night: Nowhere to hide

    Election night: Nowhere to hide

    These are volatile times for established political parties, politicians and politics itself. Wherever we look; the old elites are creaking, the new elites are largely untested and political fragility looms large. To compound the difficulty, interest and participation in politics continues to decline. Binding these old and emerging political traditions together, like the tendrils of death, is a political culture dominated not by fact, not necessarily by opinion or belief, but by the invention of new truths. These new truths […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit