Don’t ‘slam the door’ on foreign property owners in London, says Boris

08:15 17 January 2014

London Mayor Boris Johnson is questioned over giving the Met water cannons (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA)

London Mayor Boris Johnson is questioned over giving the Met water cannons (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Boris Johnson has waded into the row over foreign investment buying up London properties by saying it would be wrong to ‘slam the door’ on overseas investment.

Speaking at the annual Mansion House London Government Dinner last night the Mayor said he recognised a ‘desperate shortage of homes’ in the capital, but said it would be ‘utterly nuts’ to pursue any policy which deterred those from abroad from purchasing property.

It comes after Chancellor George Osborne is set to impose a so-called ‘oligarch tax’ on sales of homes by non-UK residents in a bid to cool the city’s overheated housing market.

A sharp increase in overseas purchases, especially by rich investors from Russia and the Middle East, has been blamed in part for spiralling prices.

Mr Johnson said new builds should be ‘marketed first to Londoners’, he suggested, and foreign owners should either live in or rent out their properties not just regard them as ‘blocks of bullion in the sky’.

“But what I don’t want to do is to follow the logic that I read from time to time and that is to slam the door again on the right of overseas residents to buy homes in London, notwithstanding the effect they may have in some parts of prime London on the market,” he said.

“I don’t think that is the right approach.”

He did not refer directly to the tax policy, but added: “I do not in any way want to deter international investment in our city. Quite the reverse: I want to encourage it.

“You can see astonishing transformations taking place in London thanks to international investment.

“We would be utterly nuts as a society if we did anything to turn that away.”

A speech by Boris would not be complete without a gaffe, and he didn’t disappoint, risking a diplomatic spat with Germany by noting that London was now home to a huge number of French ex-pats, quipping: “Any bigger, my friends, and we will have to worry about the possibility of a German invasion.

“For the benefit of all international diplomats here tonight, that’s a joke. Don’t panic,” he added hastily.

Beleaguered French president Francois Hollande also came in for a ribbing, with Mr Johnson - who has himself had to deal with personal scandals being exposed - telling him: “If things get too tough for you over there, just put on your famous crash helmet, get on your scooter and join the exodus to London where you will find, amongst other attractions, a civilised and gentle media who would never dream of being so vulgar as to discuss your personal affairs.”

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

The billionaire businessman is joining his team in the Mojave desert.

Read more

Raising money and awareness for charity is one thing. But remember, a moustachioed gentleman should never look daft…

Read more

Celebrate Movember with 30 famous Moes – one for each day of the moustachioed month!

Read more

Promotions

BT Home Smart Cam

When I was first told by my boss that I would be doing a review on the BT Smart Cam 100 I didn’t quite know what to expect. Before even looking at the product I was picturing it as nothing more than a web cam with a fancy name.

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

The billionaire businessman is joining his team in the Mojave desert.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

TOP Stories

Yesterday, 17:02
Police attend the scene where a teenager was stabbed to death, outside a convenience store in Pilgrimage Street [Photograph by Alex Diaz/PA Wire

A teenager has been stabbed to death on Pilgrimage Street near Tabard Gardens this afternoon.

Yesterday, 15:27
Police are looking for these two men after a sex worker was attacked with noxious gas in Soho (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Police have released images of two men they want to speak to after a sex worker and her friend were ‘sprayed with a noxious gas’ and then robbed at an address in Soho.

Yesterday, 12:54
The man was fatally stabbed at Middlesex University in north London (Picture: Google Streetview)

A murder investigation has been launched after a man was fatally stabbed at Middlesex University campus in the early hours of this morning.

London Bloggers

Thu, 10:07
The Appilepsy team: Phil Efstathiou, Alex Telek , Clarence Ji, Miklos Molnar, Joran van Apeldoorn

In Tech City, things move fast. And sometimes erratically. Like phones in the pockets of people having epileptic seizures.

Friday, October 24, 2014
The 91-year-old gave the cyclist a wallop

After Baroness Sharples bragged about walloping a cyclist, London24’s cycling blogger AViewOfLondon has this to say...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit: