Mayor's Report

Meeting: 
MQT on 2015-10-21
Session date: 
October 21, 2015
Reference: 
2015/3559
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Mayor, do you need five minutes to update us on any matters?

Supplementary Questions: 

Answer

Answer for Mayor's Report

Answer for Mayor's Report

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I do not know how long I need, but I will give you a quick report, Jennette.

Just to remind the Assembly, we have had a record number of affordable homes but also in the last few weeks I was able to announce that 52,000 Londoners on modest incomes have moved into part-buy/part-rent homes.  These are incredibly important because so many Londoners want to get a share in the value of their home.

I went to see a fantastic project up at Waltham Forest at Gallery Court in Fulbourne Road where there are about 124 mixed-tenure apartments.  The average starting outlay is about £63,750.  We have deposits for as little as £5,000, averaging £13,000 for the deposit for the purchase.  Average household wages for these homes are about £37,000.  If you can imagine two people with a collective income of £37,000, it is really within Londoners’ reach.  That was a wonderful project to see.

We have launched a report on the dynamism of London’s creative industries, which are now worth almost £35 billion to the economy.  That seems to have more than doubled.  The last figure I used to use was £16 billion and so it seems to have gone up massively.

We had a trade delegation to Tokyo, which was extremely successful, particularly in the biotech, med sciences and financial tech sectors.

I just want to say one thing about what Len had to say, if I may.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Before you go into that, let us stay with your update because ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes, I am sorry.  There was one thing, you are quite right.  I will come to that.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Can I just finish, to remind you what I do want to hear from you about; you have been asked to update the Assembly on the impact on London of the Government’s decision announced on 13 October to permanently change the permitted development rights rules --

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes, that is quite right.  Forgive me.  You are quite right, Jennette.  We have been actively lobbying the Government - this is Nicky’s [Nicky Gavron AM] question - to reconsider its proposals to liberalise change-of-use from office to residential.  In 2013, we had exemptions from these permitted development rights, which are potentially very damaging to London’s ability to use office space for all of the Central Activities Zone (CAZ), for Tech City, for the northern part of the Isle of Dogs, for all the enterprise zones and for the Royal Docks.  The risk was, as you will recall, that those exemptions under article 4 were going to fall away and we secured from Greg Clark [The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP], the Secretary of State, an extension until May 2019, until which the boroughs can continue to make their own decisions about change-of-use for planning applications.

I accept, Nicky, that that still leaves parts of outer London, as it were, unprotected.  I am getting some incoming here from my right already from the Mayor for Tower Hamlets [Mayor John Biggs AM].

Do not forget that there is still, in many places in London, an excess and surplus capacity of office space and we have a huge housing shortage.  Sometimes you really can convert these schemes into good housing projects and I do not think that that should be forgotten. 

The only thing I would say, just finishing up on Len’s [Duvall AM] opening statement, is that I just ‑‑

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Assembly Member Gavron, I will call you in a moment.  Mayor, can you note what Assembly Member Duvall has said? Was it just something brief you wanted to add?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes, a brief comment on it.  I think Members of the Assembly and everybody here will accept that whatever robust language we may use in this place -  words like ‘Luddite’ or whatever - violence in this place should not be allowed to exercise a chilling effect on debate and exchange in the Assembly.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Alright.  We would all agree with that.  We are not going to go any further with this.