Housing pledge row erupts in Tower Hamlets on eve of elections

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman - Credit: Archant

A housing row has erupted on the eve of the local elections with Labour accusing Mayor Lutfur Rahman of taking credit for homes that would be built whomever is elected Mayor.

John Biggs, Labour candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets

John Biggs, Labour candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets - Credit: Archant

The Mayor has made an election pledge to build 5,500 homes over the next four years if he is re-elected tomorrow.

But Tower Hamlets Council has confirmed to Labour following a member’s enquiry that 5,349 homes for that period are already in the works.

This would mean the Mayor only has to build an extra 151 to meet a target which is already being reached by developers.

Labour candidate John Biggs, who hopes to unseat Mr Rahman as Mayor tomorrow, said: “The truth is Lutfur Rahman’s housing policy is in total disarray.

“He isn’t pledging to build any council homes at all, and now we learn that using all the power of the mayor’s office his ambition is only to build an extra 151 homes over four years.”

Mr Biggs has pledged to build 1,000 new council homes on top of those currently in development if he is elected Mayor.

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Mayor Rahman declined to say if his 5,500 homes pledge was on top of the existing plans for 5,349 housing units.

He said: “While Mr Biggs is playing with numbers I’m making sure Tower Hamlets continues to build the most affordable homes in the UK, and the thousands families re-housed since 2010 know that we’ve delivered.

“By contrast Mr Biggs’s plans would lead to no new homes because he hasn’t found a penny to pay for them.”