Westminster’s Labour Group is calling on the City Council’s leadership to work with the Mayor’s office to deliver homes all of Westminster’s residents can afford.
Of the £1bn made available by Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Building Council Homes for Londoners scheme, which will see over 11,000 homes built at social rent levels, none will be built in Westminster, because of the ruling Tories’ refusal to engage in a constructive way with the Mayor’s office. The Council’s misunderstanding of the scheme, and Leader Nickie Aiken’s pride in being the Mayor’s ‘least liked Council Leader’, which she sees as a ‘badge of honour’ is in reality a badge of shame for failing Westminster’s most vulnerable and those families who have been moved miles away into temporary accommodation.
Labour councillors are all too aware of the plight of homeless families being shunted into unsuitable temporary accommodation, in Enfield, Hillingdon and out of London. Westminster Tories are letting these local residents down by failing to take advantage of the all the options available to them to tackle the housing crisis, while 26 other boroughs will benefit from the Mayor of London’s funding.
Labour are calling on Westminster to urgently work with the Mayor of London so that our residents can benefit from future Building Council Homes for Londoners funding. Labour are also calling on Westminster to take advantage of the £10m funding pot (with a maximum of £750k per borough) announced just over a week ago by the Mayor for Councils’ planning and housing departments to support the construction of more council homes. Westminster Council’s willingness to collaborate with the Mayor will be a litmus test of whether they are serious about meeting their ambitious promises for ‘affordable’ house building and ensuring that such schemes benefit those most in need.
Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Property Cllr Matt Noble said “Westminster Council’s arrogant decision to ignore millions of pounds worth of funding to build council homes at decent rents will mean families in temporary or overcrowded homes lose out yet again. Westminster Conservatives are showing that their ‘City for All’ is nothing but a meaningless slogan.”
Notes: Westminster Conservatives’ current policy of rejecting residents ballots would preclude the Mayor’s funding for regeneration projects like Church Street and Ebury Bridge (Labour support ballots). However even if the Tories do not change their position there is still opportunities for significant Mayoral investment in the ‘infill’ programme.