By Ali Nobil Ahmad
A statement on the credit crunch by Sir Steve Bullock, the mayor of Lewisham, has been condemned for failing to properly address housing issues by housing groups and opposition councillors this week.
The Mayor’s statement, recently issued as an official council response to the global economic crisis, outlines the likely economic impact on the borough. According to a number of critics however, the document fails to consider the particular effect of the recession on housing.
Glyn Robbins, of the campaign group Defend Council Housing, told the Platform: “I don’t see how anyone in their right mind can make a statement about the credit crunch and not say anything about housing.”
Green Councillor Romayne Phoenix described the mayor’s statement as “bland” and “content-less” on the housing issue, which she considers one of the key challenges facing the borough. In an interview with The Platform, she compared Lewisham with other London boroughs which have given specialised local advice for homeowners, and are considering issuing interest free loans.
There are around 20,000 families on Lewisham’s social housing waiting list, and repossessions among home owners are expected to increase in the run-up to Christmas.
Mayor Bullock issued a speedy response to his critics, accusing them of “being prepared to see nothing at all get built rather than compromise”. “The Green councillors are well meaning,” he said, “but don’t seem to be able to face up to the real issues facing people in our borough.” His political assistant said that the Mayor would be issuing a detailed response in due course.