Response to the Mayor’s Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration

March 14th, 2017

Barking, Havering and Redbridge A&E waiting time target missed as London sees worst figures on record

March 13th, 2017

Response to the Mayor’s Draft Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance

March 1st, 2017

Future of Garden Bridge hangs in the balance despite Charity Commission ruling

February 28th, 2017

Short Term Lettings industry suggests it will work together to enforce 90 day limit

February 22nd, 2017

Statement on the Housing White Paper

February 7th, 2017

Response to the Mayor’s Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Tom Copley AM has responded to the Mayor’s Draft Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration on behalf of the Labour Group.

The response is available here:

View this document on Scribd

Barking, Havering and Redbridge A&E waiting time target missed as London sees worst figures on record

Monday, March 13th, 2017

A&Es handling the most serious emergency cases across London are missing crucial waiting time targets, new analysis has shown. Not a single one of the capital’s NHS Trusts running A&E departments hit the government’s target – to see 95% of patients within four hours – in January of this year. King George Hospital and Queens Hospital A&E departments only saw patients within four hours 74.3% of the time, which is below the English average of 77.6%. Labour Londonwide Assembly Member, Tom Copley, said the London wide figures were “the worst on record” and measures announced in this week’s budget would “barely scratch the surface” of the problem.

The government’s 95% target includes patients at A&E, specialist, and urgent care centres. However, the latest NHS data shows that in January of this year not a single hospital A&E department (excluding specialist and GP led urgent care centres) hit this target. In fact, only two trusts saw patients within 4 hours more than 85% of the time. This is the worst ever monthly performance recorded in London. King George Hospital, earmarked for closure and Queens Hospital A&E are part of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals..

Across London, patients were kept waiting for more than four hours on 55,360 occasions. This is 40% higher than January 2016, despite fewer numbers of people coming to A&E overall. In Havering and Redbridge, figures for King George Hospital and Queens Hospital patients spent more than four hours before being seen on 5,247 separate occasions, an increase of 34% since January 2016. In total, patients in London waited longer than four hours on over half a million separate occasions between January 2016 and January 2017.

Despite these pressures, there are further cuts in the new Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which are expected to leave a £4.3 billion shortfall by 2021. A&E departments at Ealing, Charing Cross and King George hospitals have been earmarked for closure, whilst there are proposals to close one of the five acute hospitals in South West London, all of which run A&E departments. Mr Copley said it “isn’t viable” to expect Trusts to meet growing pressure whilst simultaneously cutting their funding.

The worst performing trust was London North West Healthcare which saw just 50.7% of patients within the four hour target in January 2017, followed by the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at 51.2%.

Londonwide Labour Assembly Member, Tom Copley AM, said

“These figures are the worst on record. Plans for further closures need to be urgently reconsidered or this situation is only going to get worse.

“The NHS, local councils and adult social care are under extreme financial pressure. But pursuing A&E and hospital closures before better alternatives are in place will not rectify the situation.

“The Budget announcements from the Chancellor on social care will barely scratch the surface in terms of the increasing need and pressure that councils are under. As for the commitment to put more GPs into A&Es, he seems to be oblivious that we are already facing a severe shortage of qualified GPs, particularly in London.

“The government’s unrelenting squeeze on the NHS must stop. Expecting Trusts to meet growing pressure whilst cutting their funding just isn’t viable. Our NHS needs to be properly funded and supported – the government needs to take action and they need to take it now.”

Ends

Notes

  • The formal government target of 95% within 4 hours applies to A&E (Type 1), specialist (Type 2) and urgent care (Type 3);
  • There were 242,382 attendances at London A&Es in January 2016, compared to 241,867 in January 2017;
  • In January 2016 there were 39,170 cases of patients waiting more than 4 hours. In January 2017 this was 55,360;
  • From January 2016 to January 2017 (inclusive) there were 530,218 occasions of patients waiting for more than 4 hours;
  • In January 2017 there were 5,247 occasions when patients were left waiting for more than four hours in King George.
  • The government’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans, and the expected funding gap for each, can be found below:

North Central STP funding gap: £876m (see p44)

North East STP funding gap: £336m (see p3)

North West STP funding gap: £1.4bn (see p4)

South East STP funding gap: £934m (see p4)

South West STP funding gap: £828m (see p43)

  • Cumulatively, this could leave a shortfall of approximately £4.3 billion by 2021;
  • More information on proposals to close Ealing and Charing Cross A&E departments are set out in the executive summary of the North West STP;
  • Proposals to close King George’s A&E department are set out on page 21 of the North East STP;
  • Proposals to close one of five acute hospitals in South West London are also set out on page 28 of the South West STP;
  • Tom Copley is a Londonwide Assembly Member.

Response to the Mayor’s Draft Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Tom Copley AM has responded to the Mayor’s Draft Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance on behalf of the Labour Group.

The response is available here:

View this document on Scribd

Future of Garden Bridge hangs in the balance despite Charity Commission ruling

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Responding to news that the Garden Bridge has been cleared of financial irregularities by the Charity Commission, Labour London Assembly Member, Tom Copley AM, said:

“I’m afraid this isn’t ‘the line in the sand’ the Garden Bridge Trust is claiming. This investigation deals only with claims about the Trust’s financial irregularities. With Dame Margaret Hodge’s review yet to report, we still don’t have answers to questions about whether value for taxpayer money has been achieved. We already know from TfL’s internal and external auditors that the procurement process for the bridge lacked openness and transparency.

“This is very much a live issue, with the future of the Garden Bridge continuing to hang in the balance. Even the Garden Bridge Trust aren’t certain that the project is a going concern. We need assurances that more public cash won’t be squandered on a bridge that may never be completed. As we’ve made clear, our only chance of safeguarding against that is for the Mayor to refuse to put pen to paper on the maintenance guarantee.”

Ends

Notes

  • Following the report the chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, Mervyn Davies, said it was now possible to “draw a line in the sand about historical aspects of this project delivered by other parties’ in order to deliver the bridge”. His comments can be found here;
  • Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member.

Short Term Lettings industry suggests it will work together to enforce 90 day limit

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Airbnb and other short term lettings sites joined local authorities and community groups at City Hall yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss growing concerns about the contribution of home-sharing platforms on London’s housing crisis. The meeting, hosted by Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, focused on the need to stop commercial landlords letting their properties beyond the 90 day limit set by the Government. Airbnb announced last December that they would enforce the restriction, and Mr Copley used yesterday’s meeting to urge other providers to follow suit. Mr Copley said the meeting showed that there is “clear consensus over the need to collaborate to stop short term lettings sites being abused by professional landlords”.

Guidance issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in 2015 removed the need for planning permission to rent out a room or property as temporary accommodation for fewer than 90 days a year. Whilst the 90 day limit remains in place, local authorities say it is difficult to enforce. There are concerns that properties previously used for private rent are being used for short term lettings by landlords wishing to increase their income. In Camden, home to approximately 8% of all London Airbnb properties, the average nightly cost for a holiday let for an entire property is estimated to be 140% higher than the average rent for the borough. Research also shows that 45% of Camden lettings (and 41% Londonwide) were from a host with more than one property, feeding concerns that some landlords are exploiting the rent differential.

In December 2016, Airbnb announced that they would enforce the 90 day limit. Yesterday’s meeting focused on wider prevention and enforcement. Chatham House rules were in place, but panellists and attendees from the industry, local government and the community spoke about the need for other providers to enforce the 90 day limit and work collaboratively to prevent hosts from ‘jumping’ from platform to platform.

Mr Copley said yesterday’s meeting was “a positive discussion about the need to ensure hosts cannot break the law” but warned that effective enforcement hinges upon “effective legislation from government”.

Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

“We know that some landlords are essentially transforming long-term homes into hotels without planning permission. This meeting showed that there is clear consensus over the need to collaborate to stop short term lettings sites being abused by professional landlords.

“Local authorities just don’t have the resources they need to enforce the 90 day limit and so it falls to providers to step in. It’s hugely welcome that Airbnb have stuck their heads above the parapet. We need others in the industry to now follow suit and to work together on enforcing the 90 day limit, including sharing data with boroughs where necessary.

“There is no disputing the many economic benefits to Londoners of tourism that Airbnb and their counterparts create. We must ensure the costs don’t outweigh the benefits by preventing commercial landlords from taking advantage of the system and putting even more pressure on our housing supply.

“It’s also crucial that hotels and the hospitality sector don’t face unfair competition from professional landlords setting up as hotels by the back door, avoiding taxes and regulations.”

“Yesterday’s meeting was a positive discussion about the need to ensure hosts cannot break the law by letting out properties short-term for more than 90 days per year. However, effective enforcement hinges upon effective legislation from government and we need them round the table for any future discussion. I look forward to continuing this work with platforms, boroughs, community groups, the GLA and central government to ensure short term lettings are effectively regulated.”

Ends

Notes

  • Panellists at the meeting, which was conducted under Chatham House rules, included representatives from Airbnb, LB Camden, Westminster City Council, the Institute for Public Policy Research, LB Waltham Forest, the British Hospitality Association, the Covent Garden Community Association, and the Deputy Mayor for Housing;
  • Attendees included Councillors, Housing and Planning Officers of local authorities, other short term lettings providers such as One Fine Stay and Under the Doormat; and housing pressure groups such as Generation Rent and the London Forum of Civic and Amenity Societies;
  • DCLG guidance (Promoting the sharing economy in London) published in February 2015 removed the need for planning permission, and the threat of a fine, for renting a room/property as temporary accommodation for less than 90 days a year. However, it kept the 90 day limit on renting a room and retained the onus on local authorities to investigate and enforce any breach of this guidance;
  • Research into the impact of short term lettings in Camden can be found here;
  • Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member;

Statement on the Housing White Paper

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Responding to the publication of the Government’s Housing White Paper, Tom Copley AM said:

“What we have here is evidence the government hasn’t got to grips with the realities of the housing crisis. More than anything we need an upsurge in truly affordable housing, but unless government is willing to lift the cap on council’s borrowing this will difficult to achieve. While a first glance suggests this White Paper will probably have limited impact on London, the spectre of the forced sale of council homes in the capital to pay for Right to Buy discounts still hangs over us.

“The government have indicated that they have finally woken up to the need to look beyond home ownership, with the shift in focus onto Build to Rent. But this is to attract institutional investors – and whilst the promise of longer tenancies is welcome, its bearing will be miniscule unless it is extended to existing rental properties, where the vast majority of renters actually live.

“With the government insisting on clinging steadfastly to its definition of affordable rent as 80% of market prices, any positive step it takes towards making life better for renters will be undermined. The government should instead follow Sadiq Khan’s lead by tying ‘intermediate rent’ to income, as the Mayor has done through his new London Living Rent.

“The ban on letting agents fees could significantly benefit renters, but it must be a blanket ban with no loopholes that greedy agents can exploit.”

Ends

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