Monday, March 31, 2008

Homes for Londoners: Manifesto for Affordable Homes.

This morning I was invited to attend the launch of Ken Livingstone’s and the Labour GLA candidates “Housing Manifesto”.

This took place at a new build scheme just off the Limehouse Cut, in Tower Hamlets, East London. The scheme was built by East Thames HA and is a mixture of homes for rent, key workers, shared ownership and outright private sales.

The local “City and East Labour” assembly member, John Biggs, (who I last saw on Saturday) and the London wide assembly member (and UNISON Housing Association branch member) Murad Qureshi were also both there.

It was surprisingly relaxed and even quite jolly despite the presence of TV crews and Press. Ken seemed confident and “chipper”. The East Thames CEO, June Barnes, probably had the most stress. A broken window, some rude graffiti or a irate tenant could have been embarrassing. In housing, if it can happen, it usually does.

Ken was given a tour of the estate and went inside a couple of flats. The local residents seemed very pleased with their homes. While staff also seemed quite happy as well (I should have checked how much the 24/7 concierges are paid? London Living wage of at least £7.20ph I hope June?).

Housing is of course a key issue in the election. There is pretty clear red water between Ken and Boris over “Homes for Londoners”.

Ken is planning for 50,000 new affordable homes over the next 3 years. He has secured over £1 billion for housing investment. Most importantly Ken has stressed that 50% of all new build in London should be affordable, while Boris has pledged to get rid of this requirement.

Many, many years ago, former Labour Party deputy leader, Herbert Morrison was reputed to have said that he would “build the Tories out of London” by building Council estates in Tory marginal wards (his biographers deny this – however, Morrison’s grandson is after all Peter Mandleson – so...).

Whatever the truth of the matter, it is clear that if Boris gets in he will support the Tory boroughs in London with their “class cleansing”. The Tories are already trying to get out of building practically any affordable homes. Instead they want high price and luxury developments which their Political supporters will move into.

Ordinary Londoners cannot already afford to live in many London boroughs and if Boris and the Tories win then, we will see even more segregation according to income in London.

Picture is of Ken and John with the Labour candidate for the Millwall by-election in the Isle of Dogs, Doros Ullah (May 1 as well). I first came across Doros when he use to Chair the Council Appeals committee. On which I use to represent Council employees who had been dismissed. I didn’t obviously agree with all the committee decisions, but I felt they heard out our appeals fairly. He is a good bloke (and a health & safety advisor!) I wish him well. Due to an unhealthy emphasis in the past on private development and the lack of affordable housing, Millwall, which was usually a safe Labour ward, now has 3 Tories representing it. Nuf said?


Anonymous said...

Slightly off thread, but I just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed your polite but firm rebuffs and refutations of the looney-tunes BNP lot who come on here.
It's a brilliant tactic (not that I'm saying you are not polite anyway) as I've used it before with others who just get so frustrated they get close to apoplexy - although I guess that's not such an unusual state for that bunch.
Here's hoping you manage to bring a few over to the side of reason and humanity with your responses and that the others - well, I wouldn't lose much sleep over them bursting an important bloodvessel or two!

Anonymous said...

John you said "we are all mongols" have a look.You lot maybe, but i'm not nor are any of the BNP. Your words not mine,if you people see yourselves as mongols then thats fine by me,i don't have a problem with that,i agree.

Anonymous said...

I am not in the BNP and I read the debate with intesrest. I read John's rebuttals in the same way that he attempted to defend Prescott shagging a civil servent in his grace and favoour apartment (that he fogot to pay his council tax on) following the memorial service for troops killed in Labours foreign wars. I read his rebuttal in the same way he defends the speakers abuse of his position in parliament...just a few months ago John was telling us that it was all go for an election (got that one wrong) and that Ken was certain to get re-elected (looks like he got this wrong as well). Just because you wish the nasty old BNP or the horrid Tories away won't make it happen particularly whilst you bury your heads in the sand and fail to answer the specific points that were raised in the article. Fundamentally they made a lot of pertinent points and a bit like Gorbals Mick or Labour's spin doctors John failed to adequately answer of them? You should get a job in Govt..the EU state that the general public in the UK are now the least likely of 27 nations to belive Govt statistics...I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Ken's definition of a Londoner is? The Londonoers getting these houses will have ben living here for how long? Contributed how much to the economy?

John Gray said...

Hi Anon 1

Hear, hear!

Anon 2

Apologies – I meant of course “Mongrel” which I think most people realised. I am actually pretty proud at being a welsh/Scot Mongrel myself and of course Mr BNP person, you are no doubt as well. Never mind the more recent stuff, but just remember those 1,000’s of North African legionnaires and cavalry who served in this county during the 300 odd years of Roman Rule. DNA tests have shown that there are huge numbers of Brits who have direct ancestors in North Africa.

Hi Anon 3

Pleased that you are not in the BNP (there is hope), not sure that I really defended JP’s misconduct? I still think that the Speaker is good guy, don’t actually think that I said it was certain that there would be an election? I still think that Ken will be re-elected although it will be close. I am not aware of this EU “research”. I actually think that while many people enjoy moaning at the government, on the whole think it does a good job. But we do enjoy a good moan.... and why not!

Hi Anon 4
Maybe it doesn’t really matter, but Ken was born in London, I wasn’t. I have now lived in London for over 20 years and feel in my bones a Londoner.

I am proud of our tolerance and our humanity as well as our economic success. Do you ever feel proud and uplifted about things anon?