Terror attack response staff can’t afford to live in London

The Harris Review into London’s Preparedness to Respond to a Major Terrorist Incident has some worrying conclusions.

According to the review, published today, London remains alert to a ‘severe’ threat of international terrorism but there are risks to responding from emergency services staff increasingly being unable to afford to live in the capital.

This report echoes my concerns that more and more of our public and emergency service workers are being forced outside of London by rising living costs, and warns that it could affect our response and recovery from attacks.The Mayor must make these essential workers a priority for his new housing policies. This must include police, fire service workers, medical staff and other essential personnel who are needed in emergencies. I’ve been asking him questions about using NHS and other public land for these staff.

The Harris Review highlights that high housing costs in London have left ’blue light’ emergency service workers £500 short per month of being able to afford a flat.

It says this would have a ‘significant’ impact in an emergency situation and the report recommends the Mayor should formally identify the need for housing for key emergency service workers in his London Plan.

The Mayor commissioned the review from former Metropolitan Police Authority chair Lord Harris to examine how London would cope with multiple attacks.

In June, I released a report that revealed half of London’s borough police officers live outside London and the London Chamber of Commerce report ‘Living on the Edge’ showed that 54% of front line ‘Blue light’ workers, including police, fire and paramedics, now have to commute into the city to work.