Boris Johnson, who is standing for Mayor of London on behalf of the Conservatives next year, has said he will relax quotas for affordable homes.

The current mayor Ken Livingstone insists that borough councils meet a quota of at least 50% affordable homes for new housing developments.

In a speech today, Johnson argued that this has resulted in fewer homes being built in the most needy boroughs such as Haringey.

Bugger all

‘50% of bugger all is still bugger all,’ he said. Johnson added that boroughs such as Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham have succeeded in building more houses overall, including increased numbers of affordable housing, while resisting Livingstone’s 50% quota.

‘Where development has been stifled because of Mayoral bureaucracy and quota-insistence, then I will be willing to ease those quotas – but only in order to encourage development,’ he said.

No to towerblocks

Johnson also said he would oppose towers if elected, arguing that people prefer to live in low-rise homes: ‘When I look at some of the plans for the 27 phallocentric towers that Ken wants to erect in the suburbs, I wonder whether we have learned anything from the last 50 years,’ he said.

Johnson was speaking at a lunch hosted by the National House-Building Council.

The mayoral elections take place on 1 May 2008.