London's Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson today criticised the coalition government's plans for housing benefit, labelling it a "Kosovo-style social cleansing of London". Johnson's criticisms mark another dispute in the space of a week between the London Mayor and the prime minister - after David Cameron vowed to block any moves for London estuary airport.
London’s Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson today criticised the coalition government’s plans for housing benefit, labelling it a “Kosovo-style social cleansing of London”. Johnson’s criticisms mark another dispute in the space of a week between the London Mayor and the prime minister – after David Cameron vowed to block any moves for London estuary airport.
Watch Boris’s interview with BBC London News:
Mr Johnson said he would “resist any attempt” to recreate a London where rich and poor cannot live together.
“The last thing we want to have in our city is a situation such as Paris where the less well-off pushed out to the suburbs…People will always cry and say that I am at war with David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith and his officials.
“What we will not see and we will not accept any kind of Kosovo-style social cleansing of London…On my watch, you are not going to see thousands evicted from the place where they have been living and have put down roots.”
London Councils estimates that 82,000 families will be affected by the changes to housing benefit. Johnson is opting for a different approach to Cameron, who has thus-far stuck to his ‘tough man making the tough decisions’ posture. It’s clear that Johnson’s remarks annoyed the prime minister – his spokesman took issue with what Boris had to say, and the way he said it.
The spokesman said:
“The prime minister does not agree with what Boris Johnson has said or indeed the way he said it. He thinks the policy is the right one.”
Previously, Johnson called Cameron’s theory on the Broken Society “piffle“, vowed to protect police numbers in London and has strongly attacked the 50p tax rate, which Cameron has maintained. With two years of his term remaining, and another five years before a general election, it will be interesting to see how the pair’s relationship develops, and if they can ever get along?Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.