each night, but added: “Although this is too many, set in context with other major cities like New York which has tens of thousands sleeping rough every night, London wasn’t doing too badly.”
To test this the Mayor said he had spent a night sleeping rough in London but had sought no publicity for it.
Boris reported that the numerous cranes that can be seen all over London is evidence of the hard work going into building hundreds and thousands of new affordable homes.
Nicky Gavron, Labour’s housing and planning spokesperson at the GLA, disputed the Mayor’s figures saying only half the number of homes Boris claimed, were actually being built.
Navin Shah, assembly member for Brent and Harrow, added it was due to ‘sky high prices’ with the average home now £500k or 15 time the average inner London salary (£34.5k).
“A number of landlords are earning more from their second home income than they are from their main employment,” he said.
Boris admitted he was against rent controls, saying they don’t work and lead to fewer landlords putting properties up for rental. Tom Copley, Chair of London Assembly’s housing committee, refuted this, citing major cities like Hong Kong and New York as rent control success stories.
The Mayor said he was proud that Hillingdon is reportedly the fastest growing business area in London, with construction at its highest level in 40 years.
He quoted some fascinating statistics to back up Hillingdon’s commercial acumen – light sabers are manufactured here by HASBRO in Uxbridge – and bus stops are made by True Form of Hayes and exported to Las Vegas.
Assembly members and Boris restated their opposition to Heathrow expansion on environmental and noise grounds and Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon recommended Gatwick, Luton and Stansted be looked at as viable alternatives.
On the proposed HS2 high speed railway line through Hillingdon borough, there was agreement that the project was bad for London.
Jenny Jones AM (Green Party) said it was a waste of money just “to save 20 minutes off the train journey to Birmingham” adding that businessmen and women could spend the time working on the train anyway. Mayor Johnson said: “The mitigation is not good enough and there isn’t even a real connection between HS1 and HS2. If you wanted to travel from Birmingham to Paris, you’d have to get off in London. Walk a mile. Then get another train at Stratford International to Paris.”
Boris stated that crime had fallen by 50 per cent since he became Mayor in 2008 and, while he accepts that hate crimes have risen, he attributed this to more reporting of them by victims.
The next People’s Question Time will be in Croydon on March 10 next year.
There isn’t even a real connection between HS1
n PEOPLE POWER: Onkar Sahota chairing the People’s Question Time at Hayes Beck Theatre on November 26 2015. Ben Pruchnie