Affordable housing in Wandsworth (Supplementary) [4]

Session date: 
April 4, 2001
Question By: 
Elizabeth Howlett
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I am certainly glad to praise the leader of the most effective local authority in the country, with 20-odd Government chartermarks for its service - many more than any other local authority. We have had this argument before, and I can remember telling you about the millions of pounds Wandsworth has put in of its own council tax money - £25 million over the last years - in affordable and social housing. No other local authority has put the money into its own housing that Wandsworth has done. I remember telling you and Samantha Heath this before: one in three of the new housing developments are for affordable housing.

However, can I criticise your 50% of affordable housing? My understanding is that that breaks down to 35% social housing and only 15% of low-cost housing -

The Chair: You are doing a Biggs.

Elizabeth Howlett: Is that true? Key workers such as the police, nurses, teachers and fire workers want to get on to the housing ladder so that they can profit from the expansion of housing to buy in London.


Answer for Affordable housing in Wandsworth (Supplementary) [4]

Answer for Affordable housing in Wandsworth (Supplementary) [4]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I can quote Frank Dobson, who pointed out throughout his campaign that, in any other area, we consider rising prices to be a problem; it is only in housing where suddenly people think, "It is all going very nicely" - and of course it is if you have one. Rising house prices are a problem in London, not a benefit. They are a benefit to individuals, but they are part of the problem that is pricing Londoners out of being able to live in their own city.

I do not agree with what Wandsworth has done. Wandsworth has disposed of council housing on a scale that would make Lady Thatcher green with envy. I recall - I think I mentioned this before, as you mentioned what you said to me - one of the leading members of Wandsworth's local government of recent years taking me to one side in the Committee Corridor at the House of Commons, after the Lady Porter judgement, and saying, "She was just stupid. We did exactly the same thing; we just weren't so stupid as to put it in writing."