Boris comes to the rescue of the super-rich! But not for those who need a home...

In Earl’s Court, the Mayor is supporting the demolition of hundreds of council homes

Share
Related Topics

Boris Johnson set out his economic philosophy as “help the super-rich”. His personal musings in the Telegraph are one thing. But as the Mayor of London he is putting this philosophy into practice, most obviously where he clears people away to build towers of over-priced flats for investors. His housing strategy is having serious real-world consequences for the majority of Londoners who are being priced out of the capital.

The Mayor says we should lay on a feast for the elite one per cent, and then make sure all ordinary Londoners can fit under the table to gratefully receive the crumbs. He tells us we should be grateful for the tax revenues that slip through massive avoidance schemes onto the floor, grateful for the overpriced flats with insecure tenancy agreements that investors dangle under the table, and grateful for the charitable donation of scraps to the jobless who used to be guaranteed a decent meal by the state.

What we mustn’t do, in the Mayor’s way of thinking, is question whether these crumbs are worth the price of the main meal.

In Earl’s Court, the Mayor is supporting the demolition of hundreds of council homes against the wishes of the local residents who want to take over management of their estates. These will make way for homes that sell for at least ten times the local average income, far out of the reach of council tenants or even prosperous young professionals. The Earl’s Court exhibition centre – the shop front of thousands of small businesses – will be flattened and replaced with high-end retail. This is regeneration for the benefit of the one per cent; penthouses to use when they’re in London, and cramped flats to let out at extortionate rents.

In my report, Crumbs for Londoners, I describe other housing schemes that exemplify this investors-first approach. The Mayor claims this helps get homes built, and that supply is the only answer to our housing problems. But this approach won’t see enough homes built, of the right type, to stabilise prices. Instead, by encouraging more and more investors to join this property feast, and supporting other demand-boosting policies like Help to Buy, he is helping to push prices up.

The tenants’ group Let Down recently occupied one of these over-priced tower blocks in Stratford, just next to the Olympic Park. The tenants represent a growing number of ordinary Londoners who are priced out by this property feast, and who are told to blame the poor for clinging onto the remaining council housing in Hammersmith rather than blame the super-rich who are buying up two thirds of new homes built in the capital.

The Let Down tenants echo the Occupy movement, which for a brief moment reminded us all that the banks have probably cost us more through the crash, subsidies and tax avoidance than they have contributed in tax revenues. Wealth trickles up to the 1%, not the other way around.

The Mayor should talk to people in Let Down and Occupy to understand that they are angry, not jealous, and that his London is leaving them behind.

He might also ponder that those council homes he demolishes were once the salvation of downtrodden private tenants; that they were built at a time when the high taxes he decries helped to reduce income inequality and so increase social mobility; and that these policies were taking power away from the rentier rich, while he wants to put it back in their hands.

Darren Johnson represents the Green Party in the London Assembly

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More From
Darren Johnson
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP BW BO

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

HSE Manger - Solar

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: HSE Mana...

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Powertrain Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I hope you are well. My client based in ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tulisa Contostavlos arrives to face drug charges at Southwark Crown Court on July 14, 2014  

Tulisa might have been attacked for being working class, but she still has to take some responsibility

Chloe Hamilton
Is Ed Miliband a natural born leader? Or could he become one?  

Wanted: a leader with the strength to withstand criticism from the media

Steve Richards
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried