Gospel Oak by-election: Ukip candidate focuses on ‘massively serious’ housing crisis
- Credit: Archant
The Ukip candidate for the upcoming Gospel Oak by-election has said his top priorities are seeing more homes built and highlighting “disgusting” cuts to education.
Giles Game, 40, is hoping to improve on his party’s 361 votes in 2014 by focusing on the “massively serious” housing crisis, primary school funding and the “lethargy” of the Labour-run council.
The election has been called for May 4 after Labour councillor Maeve McCormack resigned because she said she could not afford to stay in London.
Mr Game, who lives in Bloomsbury and works in finance, told the Ham&High that many people don’t appreciate the severity of the lack of housing in Gospel Oak, Camden and the capital generally.
He said: “In terms of my two boys, who are seven and five, I ask myself: ‘Will they be able to to afford to buy, or even rent, near where they’ve been raised?’.
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“If the crisis is not fixed soon, then the answer is obviously ‘No’.”
Mr Games said there would be “no chance” of him buying the home he currently owns if he was in the market for a property today, adding that life is becoming difficult for the middle class too.
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Though he says Camden is “not a particularly badly run council”, he said it is becoming complacent.
“There’s a lethargy in the council, especially when it comes to regenerating some of the estates in the area,” he said.
“Lots of buildings are falling into disrepair, and if an estate is refurbished, it will still have the same number of homes in it – why?”
He added: “This is bread and butter stuff.”
He also attacked the Conservative government for what he says are “absolutely disgusting” cuts to primary school funds.
“Cash is being stripped from primary schools in Camden – and we’re starting to see the effects of it already,” he said.
“There’s not much I could do on the council, but I would like to embarrass the government. It makes me quite angry, that – it’s disgraceful.”
On Europe, he hopes to see EU citizens “unilaterally” given rights to stay in the UK – but he does say on migration that “enough is enough”.
“People from all backgrounds around the borough are saying it’s caused problems and that there is too much migration right now,” he said.
“We all know about the anti-social behaviour of some people, and we know about housing demand being affected.”
On the council’s changes to rubbish bin collection times – going from weekly to fortnightly for some wards – he said lots of people “barely manage now” and stressed he opposes it.
But on another major issue in the by-election – levels of pollution in the air – he takes a unique view.
He said: “As a Londoner, you have to take it somewhat on the chin. It’s not as bad as the days when we had smog here everyday.
“And what else can we do about it? We already tax motoring, support cycling.
“It’s not a big bugbear for me.”