Social Housing

MQT on 2014-03-19
Session date: 
March 19, 2014
Question By: 
Tom Copley
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What are you doing to ensure all London boroughs are working to deliver social housing?


Answer for Social Housing

Answer for Social Housing

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Yes, thank you.  Here we go.  Thank you, Tom, excellent.  The great man who told the truth about the record of the Labour Party and Margaret Thatcher’s [Former Conservative British Prime Minister] Government in building council homes.  Absolutely right, the point you make.


The housing revenue counts, Tom, have been devolved to boroughs who have more freedom to build social housing themselves.  Clearly we all want that cap on borrowing to be lifted, so as to build as much as possible.  I just remind you of the statistic that I told Victoria just now.  Over two terms of my predecessor, Mr Livingstone, the stock of social rented housing in London declined, under their watch, by 15,246 homes.  In my first term alone I increased it by 11,683.  In the next spending round we are going to be putting in an additional £1.25 billion to deliver 45,000 affordable homes.  We are on target to deliver 100,000 over these two terms, an eight-year period.


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, it is worth remembering of course that your distinguished predecessor did not gain powers over housing in this city until 2007, which was one year before he left office, but I am glad you want to talk about political party’s records, Mr Mayor.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Who was in Government?  The Labour Party.  What party do you support?  The Labour Party.  What were you doing?  Nothing.


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, would you be quiet for a moment?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No.


Tom Copley AM:  The GLA’s monitoring figures show that between the last set of local elections in 2010 and February this year, the average Labour council in London built twice as many social homes as the average Conservative-controlled council in London.  Why are Conservative boroughs performing so badly?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Actually they are not.  The figures I saw, was it Bromley, built a phenomenal --


Tom Copley AM:  I think you hallucinate the figures that you see, Mr Mayor.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No.  Who was it who said that the Labour Party should apologise for the fact that more council homes --


Tom Copley AM:  Will you answer the question?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You have asked me about comparatives between Labour and Tory records.


Tom Copley AM:  No, I asked you about the Labour boroughs and Conservative boroughs and you are evading the question as usual.  Answer the question.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Somebody said recently that the Labour Party should apologise because more council homes were built in the last year of Thatcher’s Government than were built in 13 years of Labour Government.


Tom Copley AM:  I am talking about the homes that have been built in the last four years in London, Mr Mayor, under your Mayoralty.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Who said that? Assembly Member Tom Copley of Labour.


Tom Copley AM:  If we can concentrate on borough comparisons, rather than Government comparisons, Mr Mayor.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not know how they still allow him to be in the Labour Party after that kind of thing, unbelievable.


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, why over the last four years have Conservative-controlled boroughs built half as many homes, on average, than Labour-controlled boroughs?  I know, Mr Mayor, why do you not apologise for the record of Conservative-controlled councils?  Go on.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am told you have been expelled from the Labour Party, Tom, for blowing the gaff on the pitiful record. 


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, you must have heard that from the same place you hear your affordable housing statistics from.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I just heard it from Assembly Member Biggs.


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, do you know in the last four years Conservative controlled Kensington and Chelsea Council have built just 87 social houses and Conservative controlled Hammersmith and Fulham Council have built just 54 social houses?  What do you say to those boroughs, Mr Mayor?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  They have to get on and build more affordable homes, and that is what we say to them.  I think Bromley was actually in the lead on the figures I saw, or maybe it was Bexley, one of the two.  Both superb boroughs and brilliantly represented, and they are part of a general drive that has allowed us in London to build 71,000 affordable homes this Mayoralty, already a record number and I am confident we will go on and do that.


Tom Copley AM:  I will tell you something Mr Mayor, about Bromley and Bexley, in the league table, Mr Mayor, of the number of social houses delivered over the past four years, Bromley is 17th in the table, and Bexley is 24th.  Nine out of the top ten boroughs are Labour.  I hope you will congratulate Southwark Council for building 959 social houses over the past four years.  He is not going to.


Darren Johnson (Chair):  Do you wish to respond to that?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I congratulate all boroughs on their success.


Tom Copley AM:  On that case I will end on a high then.  Thank you very much.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What it shows is that with solid Conservative leadership in City Hall the city is finally able to get things done that mysteriously eluded us in previous years.


Darren Johnson (Chair):  Thank you.