Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Give London Its Rightful Share of the Housing Pot

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Give London Its Rightful Share of the Housing Pot

Article excerpt

Byline: Boris Johnson

AS MAYOR, I welcomed the Government's announcement earlier this month of a [pounds sterling]1.5 billion boost to the budget for new housing in England. London desperately needs affordable new homes and I'm committed to getting them built and refurbished. Unfortunately, it is increasingly clear that this "new" money that we've been promised is not all it seems.

London looks set to get much less than its fair share of the pot, with the bulk of the cash being diverted to other regions. Worse, much of the "new" money is actually being raided from existing housing programmes, including the budget for improving London's most dilapidated council homes. And the Government has made these important decisions behind closed doors in Whitehall, failing to consult either me or the local councillors who are on the front line in tackling the capital's housing problems.

I am determined that London must receive its fair share of the housing budget, in line with the Government's own rules -- which have until now distributed funding between the regions. It is wrong that the capital, the part of the country with overwhelmingly the greatest national housing need, is the only region seeing its share of these new funds reduced.

London has almost 48,000 households in temporary housing but its share of any new money will be cut by a third. Meanwhile, the North-East, with just 300 households in temporary housing, will see its share double. Just one immediate consequence of these cuts is that the Government is reneging on its pledge to fund improvements to around 110,000 of London's poorest-quality social homes. As a result these tenants face an even longer wait for basic improvements. Ministers claim the money is not lost but "deferred", but in the words of Gladstone, "justice delayed is justice denied". …

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