You may have seen in the press over the past week or so Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London's claim that since being in the post of Mayor he has delivered close to 40,000 new affordable homes and is on his way to delivering his pledge of 50,000 new affordable homes by the end of his term.
Well, now those figures are starting to appear with cracks in. Dave Hill, the Guardian columnist has done a good job at trying to analyse the figures to reveal the truer numbers. You can read his story here. I'll try and round up an abbreviation of his piece though starting off with the official press release.
Provisional figures show that, despite the toughest economic climate for decades, 38,840 new affordable homes have been delivered since Boris Johnson was elected. This means the Mayor remains on track to deliver his pledge of 50,000 more affordable homes by the end of March 2012, a record for a Mayoral term.
So... what does "delivered" mean within this context? It means units completed since May 2008 when Boris was Mayor.
Does that mean Boris has taken credit for units which started construction under Ken's leadership? Apparently not, some may have received permission under Ken but funding would have been directed under Boris.
Have any affordable homes been demolished to make way for any of the 38,840 new homes? Yes, how many? Who knows? 38,840 is the net figure though so they have been subtracted.
What does the term "provisional" exactly mean? Who knows, the mayor's office hasn't clarified this.
So where does the 38,840 figure come from? Apparently the HCA have figures of 13,070 and 13,570 for 2008/09 and 2009/10 respectively, making a total of 26,640 for Boris's first 2 years
So what about the missing 12,200 homes? This is the provisional bit.
The article ends by reminding us all that Boris would have got nowhere near the amount of homes built if it hadn't have been for the Labour government's provision of £5.5bn towards the HCA to kickstart stalled schemes. There's also the matter of his deadline to provide the 50,000 homes getting knocked back by 12 months from 3 years to 4 years.
With the austerity measures and cut backs now in place and with his own party leading the coalition government, Boris can think again if he'll be getting much help in terms of funding. The Red Brick blog has come with this rather depressing graph to illustrate the likely effect of all this on affordable housing provision in London over the coming years.