Andrew Boff is a member of the London Assembly and is seeking the nomination to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London
1) Why do you want to be Mayor of London?
I want to make London a more liveable place for families. Future developments will have to explain why they are not street-based, low rise properties with gardens, and every proposal to build flats will include a statement on “how this helps solve overcrowding”. I will replace the primary housing targets for “number of properties” with “number of bedrooms”. I will encourage the development of larger family homes. Apart from in five specified areas, planning applications for any residential building above six stories will be rejected.
2) How would you increase the housing supply in London? What sort of housing is needed and where should it be built?
More people need to be in the housing business. Self-builders will be granted public land, with a portion of the proceeds of the subsequent sale to be used to help London build housing for families. Small developers will also have a right to build on local authority land. Recognising that the housing problems of London are those of the South East, the GLA with neighbouring authorities will start the job of establishing 40 Garden Cities in the home counties without touching a scrap of Green Belt. As a result, the Housing Zones will also be expanded throughout the region.
3) Would you favour a third runway at Heathrow? If not what alternatives do you propose?
The third runway is the solution of the unambitious. I’m interested in where the fifth and sixth ones will be. That means an airport in the Thames Estuary.
4) How would you hope to achieve a further reduction of crime in London?
Bigger, safer neighbourhood teams will be funded by flattening the management structure and scrapping the superfluous Borough-based policing model. This will also allow for more consistent standards of policing across London and give the commissioner the ability to precinct London as he sees fit.
5) Would you increase or reduce the Council Tax precept if you became Mayor?
Cut, cut and cut again. I will reduce staffing at City Hall by 25 per cent.
6) What extra powers – if any – would you like to see Mayor given, and why?
We should first see if any additional powers are a better fit for the Boroughs rather than going for a Mayoral power grab. London needs to make the same case as Manchester to get better value out of the health service. We need to make the case to Government that devolution of funding will result in more effective spending. They aren’t going to agree otherwise. London needs to be bigger to cover the travel-to-work area. I have previously written for ConHome on this issue here.
7) How do you propose reviving London’s high streets?
This is a borough responsibility but the London Plan should enable “no chain” zones in high streets to encourage enterprise.
8) Do you support the proposed Thames Water Super Sewer?
Yes… unless I see a viable alternative.
9) What would you do to reduce the unemployment rate in London?
Devolve the proactive enforcement of the minimum wage to either Boroughs or the GLA. The market is being distorted by illegal employment practices which disadvantage honest employers and suck in illegal immigration or trafficked labour. An argument will be made to Government to pay Jobseekers Allowance to employers in order to fund apprenticeship places.
10) How would you seek to improve air quality in London?
See question 3. Diesel will leave London but its immediate removal will affect jobs. It is an appropriate use of public funds to provide scrappage schemes for Diesel and invest in Hydrogen and Electric public service vehicles.
11) What experience do you have that would qualify you to be Mayor of London?
I have been leader of one London Borough, a councillor in two; I’ve been a member of the London Assembly for 7 years; lead GLA Conservatives for 3 years and in that time overseen 39 pieces of original research; Started up an organisation to promote better trade with Africa; analysed the curse of human trafficking and set up a street market.
I love London, I want to enable people to make it better and I know how to do it.
12) What do you think has been Boris Johnson worse mistake during his past eight years as Mayor?
The Mount Pleasant planning decision: he gave permission for ugly….Londoners deserve beautiful.