On Tuesday night David Cameron came to Hammersmith. He made two points when responding to questions from residents of Council estates whoes homes are currently being targeted for demolition by the local Conservative-run council. Both points are demonstrably false.
Firstly, responding to a question from Mr. Richard Osband, a resident of the West Kensington Estate, David Cameron said “When it comes to housing estates, they [H&F’s Conservative Administration] don’t have plans to knock down loads of housing estates. There’s an awful lot of black propaganda being put about by the Labour Party and others.” Clearly he did not know that the Council is at an advanced stage of consultation to knock down that gentleman’s home, along with all the others on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates. He also was not aware that his Tory colleagues have published (all-be-it with a large degree of soft soap) plans to demolish six estates on H&F Council’s website as part of their Local Development Framework. Mr. Cameron does not appear to have viewed this video:
In it his close colleague, the Conservative Leader of H&F Council, is forced by residents to reluctantly admit that his administration has been in secret discussions to (you’ve guessed it) knock down her home and all the others on the Queen Caroline Estate.
Secondly, David Cameron told Maxine Bayliss, another resident whose home is under threat “If you look in terms of house building, I’ve looked at the figures before coming tonight, the previous administration built 800 new low cost houses in the four years to 2006. In the four years to 2010 the Conservatives have built, I think, 1700 houses.” None of that is true either. On the 6th November last year, the Chief Executive of Hammersmith and Fulham Council sent me a letter confirming that a total of 870 affordable rented homes will have been built, or are anticipated to be built, by housing associations (councils aren't allowed to build homes) by the end 2010. Not 1700.
Of these 870 affordable rented homes, 723 had the deals put together and planning permission granted by the last Labour Administration between 2001 to 2006 – nearly all opposed by the Conservatives at the time. A further 104 of these affordable rented homes were imposed on Hammersmith and Fulham by Mayor Ken Livingstone between 2006 to May 2008 – which the Conservatives also objected to.
Mr. Cameron seemed largely indifferent to the tremendous anxiety being suffered by the thousands of residents whose homes are under threat. At one point he told Maxine Bayliss "If you don't like them stand for election." Hardly a compassionate response, especially as Hammersmith and Fulham Conservatives are currently unleashing the most controversial social housing demolition programme since Lady Porter forced people out of the council homes in Westminister. But, when Maxine asked about that he told her "when I look at the record of what the Conservatives have done here in Hammersmith and Fulham, far from being embarrassed as the Conservative Leader, I’m proud of what they’re doing." Nice...