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June 17, 2008


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Michael is a very good academic on housing issues - I've met him a few times and heard what he has to say... It's interesting this post is categorised under Mayor Johnson Planning, there's very little Mayor Johnson can do in respect of land reform which, laudable though it may be, is unlikely to be promoted by any government, and similarly on Central London employment growth, another suggestion.

Mayor Johnson, like his predecessor, has to deal with reality and the reality is the London is competing against other cities in a capitalist world, and has to provide for jobs growth or lose out to New York, Frankfurt and Mumbai...

It's effect on the housing market can only really be addressed by developers and Mayor Johnson, as Mayor Livingston did, can provide a positive framework for them to deliver the homes London needs... But not tackle to credit crunch and issues which are down to global economic forces or taxation and land reform which are bigger issues than any Mayor has the power to, or is able to, deal with...

Michael Edwards

Dear Dave: Apologies, I only just found this commment. Thanks for it.

OK Boris can't do what I'm calling for (and wouldn't want to) but I do think that we need to press for changes to the whole housing system,even though the necessary changes will call for action at all levels from the neighbourhood/borough, via the Mayor of London to national government, the EU and so on. Getting people to open their minds to alternative foms of housing / finance / saving / security is the first step.

I have just been provoked by reading (on Christmas Day) a letter in the Guardian of 24 Dec by Alan Evans in Reading and I think I'm going to spend tomorrow trying to write a definitive letter back - and if the Guardian letters page won't take it then maybe I'll put it in CiF or my blog or somewhere. The main argument I want to make is that the housing crisis is complex, can't be understood just by blaming any particular entity (banks, builders, governments, mayor, tax system, law, pensions....) and we have to weave the whole story together to make sense of where we are and to decide where to go next.

But first the cold turkey and some chocolate mousse. M.E. 26/12/08

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