Monday 17 March 2014 6.52pm
All the criticisms of Johnson's intention [surely time to drop the matey 'Boris'?] are spot on, but I think we should also acknowledge that what is happening to the housing market, rented and retail, across London, represents one of the most ambitious projects of social engineering possibly ever effected in a city of this size.
Another article posted in this week's SE1 bulletin refers to Johnson's enthusiasm for the Old Kent Road
[a short bus ride from Elephant of course], and is once again indicative of plans for a total expulsion of the inner-city poor in order to make way for the super-rich, as tenants, homeowners, or absentee property investors.
Interestingly, Chinese capital features heavily in London property investment. Profits made off the back of the super-exploitation of China's workers are then used as seedcorn to displace the urban poor in London.
Once the dust has settled on what constitutes an 'affordable' level of rent, we will be left with a situation that will have a substantial impact on the rents charged by social housing landlords, not least housing associations, who under the terms of the 1988 Housing Act were given particular latitude to set higher rates of rent.
Stimulating the private rented market to allegedly soak up the surplus priority housing need population, which has been expedited by coalition legislation, includes frreing up the 'right' of local authorities to discharge their duty to house by placement of households in private homes, which in turn will of course compound the problems faced by people suffering detriment due to the bedroom tax, as the shortfall between housing benefit entitlement and rent due to private landlords will be probably be higher even than that faced by tenants already in 'proper' social housing.
On a historical note, we should remind ourselves once again of the State's willingness to subsidise the 'free market's' transformation of urban space when the market needs a helping hand, by reference to the huge government subsidy to support the building of the Canary Wharf road infrastructure, namely the revamped Limehouse Highway, allegedly one of the most expensive and heavily state-subsidised sections of public roadway in urban history.
In other words, the State is bad when it keeps poor people from utter penury [including homelessness], but beneficent when bailing out the 'rugged', 'stand-alone' 'cut-and-thrust' private sector.