Friday, 31 October 2014

Boris to press ahead with affordable housing changes despite defeat

Boris Johnson’s affordable rent model squeezed through the London Assembly, despite defeat in a key vote yesterday.

Twelve assembly members rejected the Mayor’s plans to prevent London boroughs setting caps in their local development plans, while nine voted in favour of the scheme.

The 12 votes fell short of the two-thirds majority required to reject the Mr Johnson’s strategy.

In heated exchanges, Labour leader Len Duvall called on members to vote ‘not to defeat the Mayor, but to do the right things by your communities.’

Deputy mayor for planning Sir Edward Lister repeatedly stressed that the affordable rent strategy would create an average of 65 per cent of market rates, meaning very few properties would be set at the full 80 per cent.

Nine councils, including Tory stronghold Westminster, opposed the Mayor’s plan saying it would make it difficult to deliver genuinely affordable housing in their borough.

Mr Johnson announced last month that he would refuse to re-instate paragraphs into his London Plan which would allow London boroughs to set their own caps for affordable rent and stop councils from setting rent targets in their planning frameworks, despite recommendations from the planning inspector.

As previously reported in Inside Housing, a coalition of borough councils are considering legal action against Mr Johnson’s plans.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Chris

    No doubt the dissenters will be exiled to outer suburbia where they will be expected to carry out false labour until they conform to central dictates of Boris.

    A smart democrat would, in the circumstances waive the constitutional defence and instead use such words as 'I get it' and compromise his position. A future nationalist dictator would press on regardless, squashing all and any dissent by whatever means they can get away with.

    If the Americans had been reminded of the atrocity of using troops against their own citizens, as Reagan was guilty of, perhaps they would have been less likely to elect him as President, and the warmongering the USA engaged in as a result would have not come to pass.

    Britain be warned, the true face of Boris is exposed.

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  • Is Boris Johnson a dictator now? How come it's OK to ignore the planning inspector and how come its OK to push Londoners out of London?

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  • Frogman

    Nothing new I am a Londoner and was pushed out by high rents in 1963

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  • Yes but frogman, we're talking about what should be social housing. Social housing rents were intended to be affordable to poorer people - not 80% of the inflated, greedy market rip-off rent (read "extortion").

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  • ManWithAbacus

    According to the london.gov.uk web site the median private rent for a 2 bed home in greater London is £317 per week.

    At 65% this is £206 per week or £10.714 per annum.

    The Barker report on housing affordability targeted 35% of gross income spent on housing meaning the household income required is £30,613 per annum.

    Is the Mayor seriously suggesting this affordable / targeting people on low incomes?

    (Assuming a 25% share of a £250,000, a mortgage of 5% and a shared ownership rent of 2.5% the weekly cost is £175 (or £9,072 per annum). Using the same 35% gross income metric the household income required is £25,920... and the shared owners benefits from te 13% house price inflation reported by the BBC on their 25% share!!!

    Come on Boris... listen to Shelter and get on with delivering shared ownership (not the rather unfortunately names "affordable" rent)

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  • Is Johnson accountable to anyone?? To those of us outside London but watching with interest, could you please explain how he only requires 33% of the vote for it to be called a majority, when the others didn't (apparently) abstain or fail to turn up?

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  • It is a constitutional safeguard recognising that the Mayor may be supported by only a minority of the assembly Judith. If you think of the deadlock many left leaning Presidents have suffered from the right leaning Senate and Congress you can see what it is trying to avoid.

    What is interesting though is that Boris has been a leading figure in the call for Strike Ballots to only be valid if supported by a high percentage of the total electorate rather than a common majority of the ballot. As with many politicians Boris has many standards, those he applies to himself and those he applies to others.

    The exposure comment is very pertinent in such a context, but you can be sure that the media will not pick it up against their next favoured son.

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  • So that's it is it? Is no one going to fight to keep social housing? One of this country's greatest post WW2 acheivements?

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  • Jude McKenzie

    Well Paul, if you measure the relative speed of the indifference factor against the gross weight of apathy in action I think we can safely say no one is going to do much about it as usual.

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  • Thank you Mr Webb. I had indeed been thinking of some strike ballots, where it seemed a couple of ballot papers sent to union members who had snuffed it without cancelling their union membership invalidated the whole thing. But I take the point about the US situation. A shame Obama doesn't manage to play the Boris card.

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