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.
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.
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.
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 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. Tabled Scrutiny Papers
Below is what you will find on the Tower Hamlets Council website 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 this document councillors asked the council to break down the ‘827 new homes’ number. Here it is:
- New Build – 225
- S.106 – 157
- Acquisitions – 422
- 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 Mayor Biggs Has Built 827 New Homes, Not 2,046 and In Seven Years Mayor Biggs Has Only Delivered 225 New Homes.
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.