Social security (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
May 21, 2015
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Andrew Dismore AM:  Thank you, Chair.  Talking about outer London, what do you say about your pledge to the 140 families who were the former residents of Sweets Way in Totteridge, outer London, who were all evicted by Annington Homes in February?  They have been scattered to the four winds as far away as Birmingham, Luton and Chingford, all over North London, because of high rents and because of the capricious approach to enforcing their policies by Barnet Council.  That is outer London.  They have been moved out.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Social security (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Social security (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  The numbers who have actually been driven out of London are very small.  Of course there are moves within the city which you would expect moves within the city in a city of 8.6 million people.  The numbers, relatively speaking, have been nothing like what was predicted.  You certainly have not seen, as I said, great convoys of dog carts moving around London let alone out of London.

Andrew Dismore AM:  What do you say to Juliette who was one of the Sweets Way residents?  She was sent to Tottenham, then Cricklewood and is now in temporary accommodation in Potters Bar, far from her work at B&Q, far from her daughter’s school, far from her roots, as you would put it.  She has to spend an extra £72 a week on fares to work and to her daughter’s school.  What do you say to Dillon: he also lived in that area for 12 years, whose ten-year old brother the council threatened to take into care when his family was evicted.  He is now in temporary accommodation a long way from the brother’s school and his future accommodation is dependent on appeal to Barnet Council.  What do you say to those people?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  These are hard cases and of course ‑‑

Andrew Dismore AM:  These are real people.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  -- what I would say to them is I understand that obviously there will be positions of hardship and I regret that.  What I would like to see is them having the opportunity to get the accommodation they need and that means building more houses which is what we are doing.

Andrew Dismore AM:  Frankly, I could list many, many more of these people from Sweets Way.  All have these problems.  They are not just hard cases.  They are real people who have suffered as a result of your failures.  Are they not, to quote your words, being evicted from the place they have been living and where they put down roots?  That is what you said would not happen.  That is precisely what has happened to them.  You have accepted it happening to them, have you not?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  The answer is to build more homes across the city and not everybody can live, I am afraid to say, and not everybody can afford to live in the areas they necessarily want to live.  I am afraid that applies to everybody.  What we want to do ‑‑

Andrew Dismore AM:  You said you wanted to stop people being evicted from the place they were living and where they put down roots.  That is exactly what has happened to these people, is it not?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Relatively speaking, in a city the size of London and with the huge numbers that move every year, we have restricted those numbers very substantially.  The headline in the article was that 50,000 people have been expelled from London.  That was absolutely untrue.  The figure was 2,700.  Yes, of course, there are moves within the city.

Andrew Dismore AM:  Utter complacency.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  They are much ‑‑

Andrew Dismore AM:  Utter complacency about yet another broken pledge, isn’t it?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am not remotely complacent.

Andrew Dismore AM:  You are complacent about the broken pledge.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  On the contrary, it was the Labour Party that was chronically complacent and failed to build enough homes.  If you had an ounce of intellectual honesty, you would look at that record and you would accept that you failed to see the difficulties coming; you failed to build the homes when the crisis was beginning and we have very substantially remedied the problem.  We will continue to build more.