There have been plenty of broken pledges from Labour’s manifesto for the Council elections. There was the “early pledge” to block the planned changes to Charing Cross Hospital (which the Council doesn’t have the power to do). There was the pledge to cut Council Tax at a faster rate than the Conservatives.
Then there was the promise for more affordable housing. “Those who need affordable homes to rent struggle to get anything suitable in the private or social housing sectors,” it said. The Conservative council has “refused” to provide “truly affordable homes for residents.” It went on to pledge that “Labour will change this” and “provide more new affordable homes for residents to buy or rent.”
So what are the facts?
The Council has given me these figures.
The total number of affordable housing units approved for year 2013/2014 under the Conservatives was 1,511.
The total number of affordable housing units approved in 2015/2016 under Labour was 165 units.
A complete failure both by comparison with the Conservatives and compared with the current performance of other London boroughs.
What a complete betrayal of those who put their faith in Labour last time.
Haven’t we got plenty of ‘affordable’ housing already? 1-in-3 of the borough’s residents lives in social housing, a high proportion compared to other parts of the country. The value of this benefit-in-kind is generous, in some cases more than many London salaries that have to cover market rents and the costs of commuting. There’s no point trying to ‘meet demand’ – it is effectively infinite and waiting lists will never disappear.
Subsidies for housing come from our taxes and levies on construction companies. Having to provide affordable units constrains the supply of market housing, meaning prices for everyone else are higher. These are substantial real costs so let’s make the best possible use of what we already have to maximise the social benefits in return.
Just on the list of broken promises how about this from their manifesto: “We will deliver the flyunder”.
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