The independent London newspaper

The Conservatives in the borough have for decades put the interests of the ultra-privileged first

23 February, 2018

• FOR decades Westminster Council has been run by the Conservatives.

They’ve failed residents by choosing to put the interests of the ultra-privileged before the interests of everyone else. On May 3 Westminster residents have a chance to vote for change and elect Labour councillors that will work for the many, not the few.

One palpable failure has been the lack of affordable housing built in the borough. They’ve put the interests of luxury flat developers ahead of the needs of residents. In part that’s why we’re seeing more and more flats sold for ludicrous amounts of money, often bought by oligarchs who live in tax havens.

If a Labour council is elected on May 3 we’ll work day in, day out, to get more genuinely affordable housing built. And we’ll do this by taking a two-pronged approach.

First, we’ll set ambitious targets for affordable housing. And by affordable we mean genuinely affordable, not pretend affordable; set at rates people can actually pay for.

It won’t happen overnight, and it’ll be a long battle to begin to turn the tide on decades of neglect. But we’re determined to begin to do what’s necessary and get more affordable homes built.

Second, a Labour administration would distance itself drastically from the current administration’s cosy relationship with developers. Unlike the Conservatives, we pledge not to accept hospitality from developers.

It is deeply worrying to think that a leading Conservative Westminster councillor, Robert Davis, has accepted hospitality from developers and other interests on so many occasions since 2015; it points to a culture within the council where the wealthy and powerful exert disproportionate influence over the political process.

We also pledge only to meet representatives of developers if a council officer is present, to make sure whatever is discussed is transparent to the public.

Tackling the housing crisis by building more affordable homes and holding developers to account is just one way we will build a borough for the many, not the few. But it will be a crucial step forward in beginning to reverse decades of failure.

Labour candidates for West End ward


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