Labour’s Housing Claims Fall 1,821 Houses Short

There are currently 20,000 families waiting for social housing in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, making housing by far the single most important issue in the May 2022 Mayoral election.

This makes it very important that any claims about housing made by any politician seeking to get elected are rigorously challenged. By every voter. That’s you.

Next time someone with a big grin and a stupid rosette knocks on your door and asks for your vote grill them about housing. Make sure you ask for numbers, not just vague promises.

Recently Mayor John Biggs has been making a big deal about how amazing well Tower Hamlets Labour Party have been tackling the housing crisis in our borough.

2,000 council homes have not been delivered

Problem being that when the Mayor says he has delivered 2,000 new homes he is talking nonsense.

That is being very kind, because he knows that he and his administration has failed on a catastrophic level to deliver anywhere near the amount of social housing Tower Hamlets desperately needs.

Instead of telling the truth and explaining why he has failed (yeah I know but…) he is attempting to brazen it out in the best traditions of Tower Hamlets politics and telling a massive lie to the electorate.

As Lutfur Rahman has shown in the past and is demonstrating once more (“I am innocent! I have never been found guilty of anything!”) if you lie big you are more likely to get away with it.

As with Rahman, so with Biggs.

A simple examination of his own data shows that there have not been an extra 2,046 homes built in the borough.

Only 225 homes have been built. And even those might have been started by Lutfur Rahman’s administration.

Look beyond claims like this.

So get all your fingers and toes ready and eyes down for some housing arithmetic!

2 + 2 = Whatever we want it to make

The graphic below has one square for each of the new homes Mayor Biggs claims to have built, 2,046.

Each rows contains 20 squares.

The 225 blue squares at the bottom represents the number of new homes that have been built by Labour.

The red squares represent the homes that the Mayor claims have been built – but have not.

The Claim

Labour Mayor John Biggs is claiming that his administration has delivered 2,046 homes in Tower Hamlets, almost the exact number he promised to build at the last Mayoral election.

The Reality

The Mayor’s own housing data shows that in fact he has only delivered 225 new homes.

Data Source: LBTH Cabinet Wednesday, 9 February 2022 at 5.30 p.m.

Below is what you will find on the starting at the third paragraph.

“The launch of the new housing report reveals the extensive work carried out across the borough to tackle this crisis, deliver new homes, and support residents. It shows that Tower Hamlets Council has delivered the following over the last 18 months:

  • 827 new homes – completed and occupied. These are a combination of new build and purchases
  • 224 new build homes are on site and under construction
  • 184 new build homes awaiting contractor appointment, finances approved and planning secured

Additionally, work has commenced on the next phase of new council homes, including:

  • 42 homes with planning permission secured and funding being finalised.
  • 451 mainly new build homes have been allocated funding and are moving towards planning permission
  • 318 further homes are in the pipeline or in appraisal

In total, this means the council is delivering and has delivered 2,046 additional homes.”


In councillors asked the council to break down the ‘827 new homes’ number. Here it is:

  1. New Build – 225
  2. S.106 – 157
  3. Acquisitions – 422
  4. Others (conversions) – 23

So only 225 of the 827 ‘new’ homes are new. The other numbers published are just as misleading:

  • 224 homes cannot be lived in because they are still being built 184 are waiting for building to start
  • 42 homes only have planning permission
  • 451 homes do not have planning permission
  • 318 only exist on paper

This is 1,219 homes, adding the 827 gives the 2,046 total claim which is untrue.

For more detail on how we were initially fooled by the Mayor’s claims and how we got to the truth please see and

And if social housing supply puzzles are really your thing have a look at Gardengate stories and see if you can make more sense of them that we have.

6 thoughts on “Labour’s Housing Claims Fall 1,821 Houses Short

  1. Maybe it’s because, as we know Labour councils are underfunded by this corrupt tory government who will stoop to any level to stay in power. They are not called the party of dirty tricks for nothing. It’s time for a change of government otherwise our country is going to hell in a handcart, we can’t afford to be gaslit anymore by Boris Johnson and his wet whipes

    1. Seriously? It’s the government’s fault that a claim to have delivered 2,000 homes seems totally false and nobody is sure LBTH have built any at all, let alone 245? Here’s a wake up call for you, the only party of dirty tricks in this borough is Tower Hamlets Labour Party.

    2. Veronica. Let me as a chartered surveyor explain a few basic things to you. This small island is chronically overcrowded as is the planet.There is land available to build on but not where people either want to live or where there are jobs and infrastructure such as city and town centres, it’s as simple as that. It’s either parks and the green belt or upwards with tower blocks. Which do you want. The claims that Labour will fix this problem either locally or nationally are just lies. I really would like a response.

    3. Veronica, Fortunately this is a Mayoral and Local election and we have a lot more choice than Red v Blue Rosette. Indeed the Tories have zero chance of winning. I would agree that many vote on national issues at local elections but this results in what we see, a council that cares little about delivery and under delivers on what most other good hardworking Labour councils are doing. I for one am voting differently at this local election than I have or will in future nationally, based on what Biggs and company have been doing and indeed from dealing with them directly on local issues, which has frankly been like pulling teeth out, when in fact they have bothered to reply let alone engage (outside of election time).

      1. Well said Chris and yes please don’t get Westminster politics get confused with the local (or Mayoral) elections. People should vote for individuals they know and trust. Any candidate that appears out of the blue that nobody knows should be asked lots of questions as to who they are, what their political views are and what they can do to help the borough.

  2. On a serious note, how can Biggs Labour pre-empt the planning permission outcome? This is outrageous because it potentially means Labour majority planning committee will grant permission to meet this claim, not based on merits for potential refusal?

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