Tony Arbour AM

14 Dec 2007 13:25:11

The Olympic Tax High Jump

Tony Arbour AM: "There is to be a new event at the 2012 Games: the Olympic Tax High Jump.  Mayor Livingstone, in a rare moment of candour, admitted that the figure the UK gave in its winning bid in Singapore did not include, amongst other things, VAT.  It is hard to escape the view that the politically driven (Livingstone as chauffeur to Blair) bid was always going to undercut the others on financial terms.  Within days of the July cheering, the pennies began to drop and the height of the bar has consistently risen - it is now at £9.3bn from an original height of £2.4bn.  Were there to be a poll tax to pay to hold the bar, it would be £100 per head for the privilege.  I might pay this for Led Zeppelin, but that would be my choice.  Pity the Londoners who already pay an extra levy through their council tax.  Their pips are squeaking even before they start their run-up."

For those interested in following the escalating cost of the 2012 Olympics, ConservativeHome recommends the TaxPayers' Alliances' Watchdog blog.

25 Oct 2007 12:28:00

Livingstone's housing targets have consistently failed

Tony_arbour Tony Arbour AM, London Assembly Member for South West and Conservative housing spokesman, on Livingstone's attempt to steal Tory clothes on housing.

Livingstone used the B word at last week's Assembly meeting seventeen times, the week before it was sixteen times.

Maybe he is in love with Boris.

More likely he can read the writing on the wall and believes that by saying the name as often as he can he will ward off his blond Nemesis.

There's no doubt that he is on the run and like Gordon Brown he is seeking to snatch our clothes. He says he will bring in planning changes to prevent building on back gardens.

This from the man who until now has thought that they are fair game as brownfield land and used them as sites for tower blocks coming to a garden near you.

There is no doubt that planning and housing will be key battlegrounds for the election.

Livingstone filled with the memories of Lambeth Council and the GLC wants to accumulate power over Londoners by allocating social housing and withholding funds from those who don't want to comply.

We believe that if the GLA has to have a housing strategy it should be geared not to renting but to providing pathways to ownership.

We want to increase housing supply, which cannot be done by insisting on all developments including 50% 'affordable' housing. Doing this discourages the total supply of housing.

As the Housebuilder's Federation has said,

"Escalating demands for affordable housing contributions from private housing developments reduce the supply of open market housing…. thereby reducing the overall supply of housing."

The regime of targets has consistently failed, only five boroughs have ever met their target and only once has the overall London building target been met, even then it included only 31% of affordable housing.

Targets never work, but Livingstone clearly think that Stalinist five year plans are still relevant. The boroughs know best what their residents need, we will seek to keep his tanks and houses off our lawns.