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Boris calls for caution over Miliband housing plans on visit to Gants Hill

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Redbridge Conservative leader Keith Prince at Gants Hill tube station. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Redbridge Conservative leader Keith Prince at Gants Hill tube station.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
6:00 PM

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, visited Gants Hill this afternoon to help launch the Conservatives’ election campaign and immediately heralded their efforts in improving the borough.

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Speaking to around 30 Conservative supporters next to a windswept Gants Hill roundabout, Mr Johnson and Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince talked up Tory chances in the local elections on May 22, and called for caution when responding to Ed Miliband’s housing plans.

The Labour leader pledged to ban letting agents’ fees for tenants if he wins the 2015 general election during his visit to Barkingside last week.

Mr Johnson said: “It is certainly true there is a housing problem in London.

“You have got to invest massively in housing, places like Redbridge have done a great job in building more affordable homes. It is absolutely vital.

“East London is where the opportunity is [to build affordable housing].”

But in a direct response to Mr Miliband’s pledge, the Mayor said: “I am a bit sceptical about fixing markets and putting limits on rentals because, as with other cities in Europe and in London in the 70s, it drives people out of the rental sector.

“Then we have all these empty homes that people can’t let out because of rental caps.”

Mr Johnson had to then be gently reminded of his Make A Splash initiative which brought a temporary swimming pool to Wanstead High School, in Redbridge Lane West, earlier this year.

Cllr Prince added the pool would not remain open beyond July 18.

He said: “We have it extended once - and thanks to Boris we had it in the first place. “With his help we have extended it for a further three months.”

When asked about the threat of UKIP at local and European level, Mr Johnson urged the Redbridge Conservative group to focus on promoting its own policies.

“I have one theory about politics, one real theory about campaigning - don’t talk about what the other guys are doing, talk about what you are doing.

“We have got the polices, let’s talk about them.”

Please click on the right hand side of this web page to view a picture gallery of Boris’ visit to Gants Hill.

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