Beds in Sheds

MQT on 2014-03-19
Session date: 
March 19, 2014
Question By: 
Victoria Borwick
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Does the Mayor support the efforts of Harrow Council to tackle the problem of beds in sheds, for example, by the use of thermal imaging technology, and would he encourage other boroughs to follow this proactive approach to crack down on this issue across London?


Answer for Beds in Sheds

Answer for Beds in Sheds

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Yes I do, Victoria, and I particularly want to congratulate and applaud the efforts of Counsellor Susan Hall in Harrow who has done so much to tackle some of the worst abuse by landlords who charge people for accommodation in sheds and other structures unfit for human habitation.  Thanks to the lobbying of Susan and others, we have the lion’s share of the funding for London to support local authorities in tacking this issue.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  It is obviously a very difficult issue for those who are involved, so I am delighted to hear about your --


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, Susan Hall.  John [Biggs AM] wants to know which party Susan Hall is in.  She is a Conservative, that is what she is and she is doing a great job in Harrow.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Obviously one of the ways that Harrow was able to tackle this problem was by using heat mapping from a helicopter, just another resource of course that the police have, which they use also for tackling drug enforcement.  I hope that you will encourage others to look at innovative ways of using their resources in order to reveal this problem.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  Heat mapping, using helicopters to map beds in sheds, is one way of doing it.  Obviously there are slightly cheaper methods as well, hotlines, local initiatives to root out the landlords who are doing this, and we support all sorts of interventions.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Thank you.  Is there any other work that you are doing that you wish to tell us about?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Well, now that you mention it, yes.  There is a great deal of work going on in London, particularly in tackling the crisis of affordable housing, which was a residue of neglect by the Labour Party and I think I am right in saying that under the previous administration, Victoria, you may not know this, the number of affordable homes in London actually fell by 15,000.  Yes, absolutely true, 15,000.  Since I have been Mayor it has gone up on average net by 11,000.


I think that is a great achievement and we continue to go forward with measures to make London safer, to improve the air quality of our city and continue to attract investment that is leading to more regeneration in London than anybody has seen in the last 50 years.  Things are happening across our city that most people never thought they would see in their lifetimes.  Thanks to you and to all your Conservative supporters who are helping to bring that about.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Yes.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is about as party political I am allowed to be.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Thank you.