Labour have accused Boris Johnson of claiming credit for delivering homes initiated before he took office. The accusation was made after the Mayor visited a new housing development in Charlton on Thursday morning.
Ahead of his visit to the the Gallon Close development Mr Johnson claimed 20,000 affordable new homes had been built in London despite the recession, an achievement he described as a “testament to the dedication and determination of City Hall, London’s boroughs, and the Homes and Communities Agency”.
Mr Johnson said the homes would “change forever the lives of thousands of Londoners”, adding there was “a huge need for affordable housing in London that we simply must meet if we are to retain our position as one of the best cities in the world to live and work.”
The Mayor, who used his visit to welcome new residents to their homes, re-stated his previous commitment of delivering 50,000 affordable homes “before the Olympics” and said “work is already under way to identify and fund developments that will see this momentum continue well into the decade.”
However Labour politicians have accused the Mayor of claiming credit for homes they say he played no part in delivering.
Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts claimed planning for the development “began in 2006 when Greenwich Council agreed to sell the land to a housing association” with planning permission granted on the 18th of May 2008, just days after Johnson took office.
Roberts commented: “It is completely disingenuous for the Mayor to now claim this development is part of his own housing strategy for London which has in fact seen the axing of the 50% affordable housing target for new homes.”
The charge was repeated by London Minister Tessa Jowell who said many of the 20,000 homes mentioned by Johnson “were started under Ken Livingstone’s Labour administration” and called on the Mayor to “acknowledge this”.
Meanwhile City Hall Liberal Democrats predicted the Mayor would miss his target of 50,000 new homes. Housing spokesman Mike Tuffrey predicted the Mayor “will fall short of this target by at least 10,000 homes.”
Responding to the claims a spokesperson for the Mayor told MayorWatch: “The Mayor remains on track to deliver 50,000 homes by 2012 which is a fantastic achievement. Far from taking the credit for housing that was delivered by others, all of the 20,151 affordable houses that have been delivered to date since May 2008, have come through the London Homes and Communities Agency, chaired by the Mayor.”