Boris Johnson's claim that he has delivered 50,000 affordable homes over the course of his Mayoralty has raised many an eyebrow over the course of his campaign. Critics insist that he has inflated the figures and that, at any rate, he is taking credit for a legacy of Labour funding which has subsequently fallen victim to his Bullingdon buddies' cuts.
But whether Boris' has built the homes or not is beside the point because in the London context, the definition of 'affordable' is misleading in the first place.
A home is classed as affordable if it costs up to 80% of market rent, though in fairness to Boris he has set the target at 65%. In Northumberland Park, Haringey, a family home let at 65% of market rent would set you back £293 a week. Yet mean household income after tax in the ward is only £365.23 a week. In other words, rent that eats up 80% of your family's income is still classed as 'affordable'.
Seen in this light, the category 'affordable' becomes utterly meaningless and the mind-boggling unaffordability of London housing becomes apparent.
London's housing crisis is now critical. In some boroughs average house prices are 25 times the average income. 23% of Londoners live in private rented accommodation compared to only 10% nationally and as demand rises, the cost of this insecure tenure is spiralling out of control.
The other Mayoral candidates seem to have grasped the enormity of London's housing crisis and have offered some credible and creative solutions.
Siobhan Benita has pledged to utilise publicly owned land to create a fixed price housing market and both Jenny Jones and Ken Livingstone have proposed innovative ways of financing genuinely affordable homes through community land trusts and co-operatives.
Boris meanwhile offers absolutely no new ideas for delivering much needed stock. And while he constantly insists that a Tory Mayor can get "a better deal for London from number 10", he didn't make so much as a squeak when his colleagues slashed the affordable housing grant by 66% last year.
Livingstone has also proposed a non-profit, London wide letting agency to reduce the costs of renting and launched a campaign for a London Living Rent, to curb profiteering.
Boris on the other hand has promised to actively campaign against any form of rent controls, seeing them as hampering free-market competition. This is somewhat ironic given that even in his home town of New York- the cradle of the free-market- rent-capping is enforced in order to allow ordinary people a decent standard of living.
London needs a Mayor who takes the housing crisis seriously. A Mayor who responds to desperate times with creative solutions. A Mayor who doesn't put the interests of profiteering landlords before the needs of the millions who are overburdened with housing costs.
A Mayor who will fight for us.
And on the crucial issue of housing, Boris simply isn't up to the job.
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