John Biggs, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, has today announced further ambitious housing plans for the borough – setting a target of at least 1,000 new council homes, with good progress towards this in a four year mayoral term - if he is elected in May 2014.
John and local MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali were joined on the Ocean Estate in Mile End this morning by Labour representatives from London and beyond including Shadow Minister for London Sadiq Khan MP as well as Heidi Alexander MP, Diane Abbott MP and Gareth Thomas MP.
Since taking office in May 2010, the current mayor Lutfur Rahman has built just 15 council homes Tower Hamlets Council’s own figures have revealed. And work on all of these council houses started before he took office.
Instead of directly building council homes, Lutfur Rahman takes credit for homes in the borough built by registered providers (formerly registered social landlords) and private developers, but the last Labour Government gave local councils power to directly build council homes.
Lutfur Rahman’s reliance on others to build new homes in the borough and inability to engage with the scale of the housing crisis facing the borough is echoed across London, where the Tories have caused a housing crisis that is making life difficult for hard working Londoners and is exacerbating the cost of living crisis in the capital.
Earlier this week John Biggs announced bold proposals to scrap Tower Hamlets Homes the council’s housing management bureaucracy and bring services back in house.
John Biggs, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said today:
“I am committed to providing at least 1,000 high quality, truly affordable council homes for people in the borough, if elected in May. Too many families in the borough are languishing on the housing waiting list and are desperate for somewhere to live, but the current mayor has only built 15 council homes.
“I would also work with housing associations to build more affordable homes in the borough than the current Mayor whose administration has widely criticised registered providers describing them as ‘dodgy social landlords’.”
Rushanara Ali MP for Bethnal Green and Bow said:
"I'm delighted to have London Labour MPs visiting my constituency and I'd like to thank them for supporting John Biggs for Mayor and our Labour council candidates.
"If we are going to form the next Labour Government in 2015, it's vital we take back control of councils like Tower Hamlets and other councils across London in May."
Sadiq Khan MP for Tooting and Labour’s Shadow London Minister said:
"We've come here today because Tower Hamlets desperately needs a Labour mayor. Lutfur Rahman has failed to build the number of affordable homes Tower Hamlets needs and as a result home ownership and even renting is increasingly out of reach for most residents.
“In John Biggs, Labour has a fantastic local candidate, with the experience needed to build more affordable homes and the bold ideas to tackle the challenge of housing in Tower Hamlets head on."