Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Assembly Meeting

This morning's meeting heard evidence from Professor Tony Travers about possible changes to the tax regime in London.

Jenny Jones proposed a land value tax, to shift taxation from income to wealth, and to encourage the use of derelict land. I pointed out that this would lead to pressure for denser, more profitable housing and commercial projects, with less amenity space - not a very green proposal. It would also in effect be a tax on London, as land values are so much higher in the capital, shifting more money out of the city to the rest of the UK. Professor Travers also noted that the tax would hit people living in fashionable areas whose properties had hugely increased in value. Those who were earning low wages would be forced to sell up and move.

Gareth Bacon suggested giving stamp duty receipts to the Mayor, to be used on new affordable housing - a sum of around £1.3 billion. We were told that the current approach to tax competition meant that around the world devolved taxes were often cut and this could lead to growth in the market, and an increase in the overall recepts.

An interesting session and we look forward to seeing the recommendations of the London Finance Commission which Professor Travers is chairing.

Policing Petition

I took the opportunity to submit the petition to keep Wanstead Police Station. The lead petitioners are Cllr Chris Cummings and Helen Zammett, both local residents who have gathered over 3,500 signatures. The Assembly unanimously agreed to pass the petition to the Mayors Office for Policing and Crime. This is the first petition against a police station closure to be presented at City Hall and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Planning Policy

The Assembly also unanimously approved a Liberal Democrat motion objecting to government plans to temporarily relax permitted development restrictions. In outer London we already face huge pressure on our back gardens and green spaces, so any relaxation of the planning regime would be most unwelcome. The new Planning Minister is Nick Boles MP, a man who spent some time supporting Boris at City Hall - so I hope he will take notice of the Capital's opposition to this plan.


Morris Hickey said...

Can you please tell us what the proposals are for fire service reductions - and stop ignoring legitimate requests for information?

Roger Evans said...

The Fire Service proposals are in fact a range of scenarios which will be decided by the Fire Authority. A confidential paper was circulated to members of the Authority and - unfortunately - leaked by the Labour Group.

I won't repeat the leak here but there is a list of stations under threat on the Fire Brigade Union website.

None of the stations on that list are in Havering or Redbridge.

Morris Hickey said...

Thankyou. I hope we can depend upon that list!

Mrs Firedoubt said...

Only if you live in Havering or Redbridge.

Robin Smith said...

Have you thought about what Jenny Jones is proposing carefully?

No need to agree with it. Just think carefully about it.

Mrs Angry said...

Leaks of this sort, Mr Evans, as you must know, if you watch the Thick of It, are not only essential in order to prevent 'blockages', but more importantly in the public interest ...

If Havering & Redbridge were included, I am confident that you would not be complaining that this list has been placed in the public domain.

Playing with fire, both literally and politically, is a dangerous game, as the previous Chair of Lfepa has discovered, to his great dismay.

Anonymous said...

You mention Affordable Homes. Do the 'poor' deserve brand new homes?.

I bought a nice family home some years ago. I am terrified to live in my own home because of criminals and trouble makers from the nearby housing association.

My home has been broken into several times, my car has been kicked in and gobbed at, rubbish dumped in my garden, people with vicious attack dogs, I have threats and verbal abuse, bricks thrown to break the security lights.

Professionals who lived in the area have moved out, ever since the housing association homes came in.

This is not a safe environment to bring up a family.

I was forced to rent out my home, as I had a huge mortgage and was unsucessfully to sell my home.

Whilst increasing house prices might be a good thing for home owners, for me it is a curse.

I calculated, if I sell my three bedroom home, I can only afford to buy a two bedroom home, after Capital Gains Tax (as it has become a rental).

My financial situation is a mess. I live in a cramped flat.

I feel the politicians who want mixed housing or affordable housing should first live next to these criminals. I hate when Labour use the word "vunerable".

I am the one who is "vunerable", I am the one forced out of my home.

It is all well and good for Labour to bleat on about affordable housing, but my experience has been terrible. These people don't deserve brand new homes.

My tax is subsidising their housing associoans homes, but these people re-pay the tax-payers's kindness by causing crime and terror.

Morris Hickey said...

I frequently disapprove of anonymous contributions. In this case I can well understand why you have done so - and I consider it very brave of you to have described your appalling situation.

The term "affordable housing" is both patronising and meaningless. A housing costing £2-millions us "affordable" to a multi-millionaire. It is all too often used as a euphemism for social needs housing.

Barkingside 21 said...

You were saying, Roger .....?

Hainault fire station in New North Road could close as London Fire Brigade prepares for budget cut

Morris Hickey said...

It is reported on a local paper's website (29 December) that both Wanstead and Woodford police stations have been closed to the public over the Christmas period.

In the case of Wanstead closure is said to be due to staff taking leave.

When asked about Woodford the Borough Commander is reported to have said that she did not know the reason! Perhaps our Assembly Member would draw such a crass comment to the attention of the police authority.