When I canvass local residents in Hammersmith and Fulham the biggest issue that comes up is housing. Many people voted Labour at the last council elections in 2014 as they felt the Conservative council was not providing enough of what is officially termed “affordable” housing.
So what has been Labour’s record?
The Mayor of London provides the statistics.
For 2013/14, when the Council had a Conservative administration, there were 178 “affordable completions” – that is to see new homes that were actually built that met one of the criteria for being “affordable”. There were eight “affordable rent” (which can be up to 80 per cent of market rent and so pretty unaffordable to many people), 35 “social rent” (which is under half the market rent). There was also 135 for “affordable home ownership” – this would include “shared ownership” schemes.
Anyway for 2014/15 the figure was 168 for “affordable completions” – 61 affordable rent, 27 social rent, 80 affordable home ownership. So slightly down in Labour’s first year. Still they could argue there was a bit of a time lag so that wasn’t really their fault.
Then we have the figure for 2015/16 which was 86 – of which 20 affordable rent, 48 social rent, 18 affordable home ownership. They could still mutter about a time lag – although it is a bit harder for them to say that it was still nothing to do with them.
So we now have the figure for 2016/17. I don’t think any reasonable person could say that three years of power meant they could still be absolved of any responsibility. The total of affordable completions for that year was ten. That’s right. Just ten. Four of them for affordable rent, six for affordable home ownership.
For this financial year so far we have the tally for seven months to the end of October. The total so far is just 42 – all for affordable rent.
When you add them up it means that only 306 new affordable homes have been built over the past three and half years of Labour running the show. Over the same period Wandsworth has seen 1,195 affordable homes completed. In Barnet it is 943. Westminster has managed 480. Hillingdon has seen 463.
The figures provided by the Mayor of London go back to 2008/09. So that covers six Conservative years. The total during those six years of affordable completions was 1,162. So an average of 194 a year. Labour’s annual average, for their three and half years, is 87.
Anyway you slice it a deplorable record. By comparison with what Conservative councils have achieved over the same period, or what was achieved in Hammersmith and Fulham during the Conservative years the Labour failure is stark.