Boris’s affordable housing failure exposes his true colours – dishonesty and indifference

Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are being priced out of London's housing market, yet Boris doesn’t seem to care.

Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are being priced out of London’s housing market, yet Boris doesn’t seem to care

Boris Johnson’s usual tactic when it comes to deflecting criticism is waffle; he’s very good at it. Yet last week when I forced the Mayor to reveal that despite London’s growing housing crisis he is set to miss his target for affordable house building, he briefly showed his true colours, moving from waffle to dishonesty and indifference.

For a long time it has been clear to everyone but Boris that the pledge to build 55,000 new affordable homes by March 2015 is well off track. As of this September, with less than a year to go, the Mayor had only delivered 38,412 affordable homes, leaving more than 16,000 to be built in order to meet March’s target.

When I questioned the Mayor at MQT last week he tried moving the goalposts, denying that the target had ever been March 2015. In politics a lot is said in shades of grey but the deputy mayor for housing was refreshingly clear about this deadline a matter of months earlier:

Darren Johnson (chair): Thank you and welcome, David [Lunts], for this next item on the Mayor’s affordable housing commitments. I am going to start off with the first question. Is the Mayor still on target to deliver 55,000 affordable homes by March 2015?

Richard Blakeway (deputy mayor for housing, land and property):  Yes.

Indeed the deputy mayor was so proud of the target he’s previously talked about it quite a bit:

  • “Ultimately, the completions will run until March 2015”,
  • “It is a four-year programme which has had a very clear deadline of March 2015. “

Even the Mayor himself has been adamant about the timeline:

  • “I have pledged to deliver 55,000 affordable homes between April 2011 and March 2015”
  • “I am currently on track to achieve the 55,000 affordable housing target to March 2015”

The problem with Boris’s waffle is that it often has little to no basis in fact. When you actually get below the surface and challenge the detail he either doesn’t know or worse doesn’t care.

This is a devastating situation for Londoners as this is clearly yet another pledge which Boris is going to fail to keep.

Yet instead of owning up to his failure, he resorts to dishonesty, denying the target was ever March 2015, and then indifference, stating “well I don’t know, whenever we’ve done them”.

The Mayor’s attitude towards affordable housing is outrageously blasé given the scale of the housing crisis facing the capital. Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are being priced out of buying by the capital’s eye-watering house prices, yet Boris Johnson just doesn’t seem to care about the impact that has.

Maybe it’s because by March 2015 Boris will be fully focused on becoming an MP that he doesn’t care. Whatever the reason we urgently need to see action to put the scheme back on track to deliver the affordable housing London so desperately needs, as ultimately it will be Londoners not the Mayor who suffer.

Tom Copley is London Assembly Labour Group spokesperson on housing

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.

20 Responses to “Boris’s affordable housing failure exposes his true colours – dishonesty and indifference”

  1. The_Average_Joe_UK

    Move along nothing to see here. Tom Copley is a Livingstone apparatchik, quite happy to stretch the truth in any direction you like so long as the answer is Ken and labour are right and Tories eat babies.

  2. swat

    BoZo is a nutter, as well as a liar and charlatan.
    He’s just penned an article in the DT on ‘Silli Milli’.

  3. Goffy

    AAAWWW poor southerners can’t afford to buy a house. You might want to think about those elderly, poor, disabled and the sick who can’t afford to eat or keep warm this winter.

  4. Starving and homeless

    Whatever Tom Copley is he is telling it like it is. I would rather believe him than Coco the Clown Boris who is not of this planet
    I don’t believe that tories need to eat babies, they have more than enough money taken from the poor to eat what they like

  5. CGR

    The real problem is uncontrolled immigration leading to excess demand for housing.

  6. Guest

    No surprise that you, Dave/LB, once more trying to say articles shouldn’t be written because they’re uncomfortable for slumlords.

    And yes, do tell everyone about your habits….

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    It’s part of the same issue.

  8. Guest

    What a susprise, you want the UK, Putinite Russian, to commit economic suicide for your benefit as you try and whip up lying hate, ignoring 34 years of systematic underbuilding of housing, and opposing housing for the British – it’s only for rich Russians, in London, eh?

    (oh, that explains the hate on some Arabs, competition for the nice flats eh?)

  9. Dave Roberts

    I don’t think he did actually say that Leon/Guest/. No, he definitely didn’t say that, I checked.

  10. Dave Roberts

    It’s actually controlled just not sufficiently and not the correct ways.

  11. Dave Roberts

    In English please Leon/Guest.

  12. Dave Roberts

    Does anyone have figures for house building under Livingstone?

  13. Dave Roberts

    Wot is?

  14. The_Average_Joe_UK


    The style is simple, he cant win the arguments so he resorts to spin, name calling and lying, Born to be in Labour

  15. Guest


  16. Guest

    Yea, the 99% are allowed to cross borders. You’ve said it before.

  17. Guest

    “I WILL SPEW BECAUSE I CAN’T READ ENGLISH” – Lord Blaggers / Dave Roberts

  18. Guest

    So you are lying again, Dave/LordBlagger, on all counts. No surprises there.

  19. Guest

    You are? No, I don’t think so, you’re far to far to the right for that.

    Keep accusing me of using your style, Dave/LB.

    As ever, you say facts are “spin, name calling and lying”, as you spew more crap at the left.

  20. GetReal

    How would London survive if all essential workers were priced out of the city. No police, no ambulance, no fire service, no telephone hanset sanitsers – oh the bankers caught a virus from a dirty telephone and were all wiped out!

Leave a Reply