London must double rate of housebuilding, says Mayor Sadiq Khan

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Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has claimed that London must build 66,000 new homes each year to meet unprecedented demand and put right year’s of “under-investment”.

The figures prompted Mayor Khan to make an impassioned plea for central government to boost the funding and powers available to London during next month’s Autumn Statement, later suggesting that government funding for affordable homes be reinstated to the previous 2009/2010 amount.

Astonishingly, the numbers – calculated by City Hall via its Strategic Housing Market Assessment – seem to imply that 65% of new build homes would have to be affordable to meet the needs of modern Londoners. The private sector cannot do this alone, and the worry now is that without government intervention the housing crisis may spiral well and truly out of control.

“Londoners know better than anyone that there has been a systematic failure for decades to build enough new homes that are genuinely affordable,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

“The housing crisis is a major factor in the high cost of living in the capital, as well as putting home ownership out of the reach of many young Londoners who fear they will never get a foot on the property ladder. In the worst cases it can affect social cohesion, cause poor health and plunge residents into poverty.”

Consequently, the Mayor has drafted a ‘London Plan’ – due for publication next month – which will outline bold new measures and establish ambitious targets for every London borough. According to City Hall, meaningful change will require a profound response from the government – including the devolution of new powers to London and a sizable increase in funding for housebuilding and infrastructure.

City Hall modelling suggests that funding for affordable housing in London alone must reach £2.7Bn a year – more than five times the current spending rate.

Mr Khan concluded: “We have spent 18 months starting the marathon job of clearing up this mess – we’ve had to totally rebuild the housing system from the bottom up. I’m using every power and pound I have at my disposal to tackle this crisis head on, and I am today setting tough targets for every part of London to make its contribution. Many boroughs, housing associations, homebuilders and others in London are ready to step up – but we simply can’t do it on our own.

“This government keeps saying they understand the scale of London’s housing crisis, but these statistics prove they are just tinkering around the edges. It’s time for the Prime Minister to match her words with action and use the Budget to commit to the profound increase in investment and powers London needs to tackle this crisis once and for all.”

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