Mayor of London must build more affordable homes this year to meet housing targets

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Mayor of London must build more affordable housing to meet housing targets
Image source Unsplash

Sadiq Khan must oversee the start of 25,000 new affordable homes by the end of the current financial year in order to meet his housing targets, according to a new report.

The Mayor of London was given a £4.82 billion grant by the Government in 2016 to build 116,000 new affordable homes by 2021, though this was later extended to 2023 due to the impacts of the pandemic.

A further 35,000 homes are expected to be delivered from £4 billion of funding between 2021 and 2026.

According to a report by the London Assembly housing committee, around 78 per cent of the homes required under the 2021 to 2023 target have been started, while none have been started under the 2021 to 2026 target.

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Sem Moema, chair of the London Assembly housing committee, praised the mayor’s efforts in delivering affordable housing but said that “progress is needed” to meet the targets.

She said: “Many Londoners struggle to get onto the housing ladder and affordability has worsened more than anywhere else in the country, driven largely by house prices increasing faster than earnings. In the current climate, these concerns are even more serious. But Londoners, of all ages and no matter what they earn, have the right to live in a safe, affordable and good quality home.

“This pressing need is one of the mayor’s most important priorities. While headway has been made by the mayor in building the affordable homes the capital needs, progress is still needed.”

A total of 25,000 new homes must be started by March 2023 to meet the target of 116,000 new homes, an increase of 33 per cent compared to last year’s record-breaking figure of 18,722 new starts.

Speaking at a meeting of the London Assembly housing committee on Tuesday, London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing Tom Copley said it was an “enormously challenging target” but that City Hall would “throw everything at it”.

Copley said that “the mood has never been so bleak” among stakeholders involved in the delivery of housing and that the recent “economic chaos” has had a “direct impact on our ability to deliver affordable homes for Londoners”.

But he said: “I’m very proud of the Mayor’s track record of delivering record numbers of affordable homes. Last year we started nearly 19,000 affordable homes in London which is the most ever recorded by the GLA. We also started more council homes than in any year since the 1970s and smashed the mayor’s target of starting 10,000 new council homes by nearly 3,000.

“And this was in spite of the myriad challenges. We’ve had Brexit, the building safety crisis, the war in Ukraine and indeed materials cost inflation which is currently running at 13.5 percent in the year to August in housing construction materials.”

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