£360 per week is affordable rent, says Mayor Boris Johnson

London, London Assembly, Mayor Boris Johnson

The London Assembly asks Mayor Boris Johnson questions

(This article was written on October 22)

Boris Johnson today said £360 a week counted as an affordable rental price.

The London mayor agreed with comments made by his chief of staff and deputy mayor, Sir Edward Lister, in regards to an apartment in the

redevelopment on the border of Camden and Islington.

Tom Copley, Labour London Assembly Member, criticised the announcement, arguing that because of the benefit cap £500 a week, people living in affordable accommodation in Mount Pleasant would only have £140 to spend on other essentials, such as food and transport.

Mr Copley asked Mr Johnson if he agreed with Sir Lister’s comments, who told BBC news that £360 a week is “very much affordable”.

Mr Johnson said: “I agree with Edward Lister. The local housing allowance covers the rent.

“Registered providers will not be allowed to exceed the cap.”

Mr Copley calculated that the average weekly bill for essentials is £190, which would mean a shortfall of £50 a week for tenants.

Mr Johnson maintained the price was fair, especially as it would be covered by tax payers’ money.

In addition, the apartments Sir Lister was referring to are three bedroom apartments in a wealthy part of North London.

The scheme proposed by the Royal Mail to redevelop their facilities in Mount Pleasant into 681 apartments, including 163 affordable houses, received planning permission earlier in October.

The decision was criticised by Islington Councillor James Murray.

Mr Murray said an opportunity to build hundreds of “genuinely affordable homes for local people” had been missed.

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Book cover, Chinaski, Frances Vick, Cillian Press

Big launch for new novel Chinaski

Over 50 people attended a book launch in Camden last Wednesday for the release of Chinaski by first time author Frances Vick.

The event was held in The Dublin Castle, a Camden pub and music venue, where Mrs Vick read a chapter of her book and signed copies for attendees.

The 250 page book, which was released on November 1st, is about an indie band called Chinaski and is set during the late 80s and early 90s.

According to Mrs Vick, this setting was chosen because at that time “it meant something to be famous, where it was on the cusp between love and hatred”.

Mrs Vick, who has previously lived in Japan and New York, said: “There were lots of bands around at that time.

“Chinaski is not a band I would necessary listen to. They’re the band that girls would buy posters of.”

Mark Brady, from Cillian Press who published the the book, said: “We didn’t need to read mor than three chapters before we knew this was destined for good things.”

The title is a reference to Henry Chinaski, the protagonist in the novels of Charles Bukowski. Mrs Vick said: “He (Bukowski) was a big thing in that set.”

Mrs Vick felt “very, very, very” happy with the book launch.

She said: “I have never been to a book launch in my life. I’ve never written a book before in my life. It’s like a wedding but less stressful!”

Mrs Vick has already planned her next book: “It’s the anti-Matilda! An evil child narrativ with a teacher.”

For more information about Chinaski, click here