Labour politicians on the London Assembly have questioned claims by Boris Johnson to be delivering “a record number” of new affordable homes in London.
A statement issued by City Hall on Thursday announced that the Mayor “is more than halfway towards delivering 50,000 affordable homes, a record number for Londoners, by 2012 despite challenging economic conditions” having delivered “26,014 affordable homes over the past two years”.
Johnson said progress had bee made “despite hugely challenging economic circumstances” and said it was “vital that London’s housing problems do not choke off growth in the capital and resulting national prosperity and this needs continued investment.”
The Mayor said the new homes would “house families who desperately need them, safeguard jobs and help to cut housing benefit bills, which last year reached £20 billion in the UK, by reducing the need to house people in expensive temporary accommodation.”
However a statement issued by the London Assembly Labour group says their housing spokesperson, former Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, “dismisses Boris Johnson’s claim to have delivered a ‘record number’ of affordable homes and says he is not doing enough to solve London’s housing crisis.”
Department for Communities and Local Government figures provided by Labour show 28,800 new affordable homes were delivered between 2006 and 2008.
Gavron commented: “Boris Johnson can try to claim credit for developments initiated thanks to the policies of his predecessor and funding from the last government but when his policies and his government’s cuts hit, it will be Londoners who suffer.”
Responding to Labour’s claims, a spokesperson for the Mayor told this site: “We did not say that at this halfway point, the 26,014 affordable homes already delivered by the Mayor was a ‘record number’ as is being misreported by London Assembly Labour. The completion of the 50,000 homes will be the most affordable homes delivered in a single mayoral term.”
Liberal Democrat AM Mike Tuffrey said that despite today’s announcement “the harsh fact is that the Mayor is still running well behind his initial pledge” of 50,000 homes.
Tuffrey added: “Sadly the public funding crisis left by the last Labour government means tough times lie ahead. Yet with confidence returning to the housing market the private sector should be delivering far more. Indeed only yesterday the Mayor admitted that little progress has been made in attracting private investment into many publicly owned sites in the capital.”