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

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk