London mayor targets Budget to double rate of homebuilding
The Chancellor of the Exchequer will deliver the Budget on 22nd November and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wants the autumn financial statement to bring good news for Londoners.
The Mayor is urging the government to use the Budget to increase investment in affordable homes for London renters. He is looking for the government to restore funding to 2009/10 levels. This would double the rate of homebuilding in the capital.
Billions of pounds needed
The Mayor's plea comes after his office published new figures.
They reveal London must build 66,000 new homes every year to meet demand. Of those, 65% must be affordable homes for renters and buyers.
This would require the government to pledge £2.7-billion a year to build affordable homes in London. Five times the current level.
Next month the Mayor will publish his London Plan. This will outline the ambitious targets he has for new affordable housing in every borough.
In the meantime, he is looking for financial support from central government. He said: "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.
“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.”/p>
Are things really that bad?
Investment in affordable rented housing in London has certainly declined in recent years. According to the Mayor's office, the number of new homes funded at social rent levels has fallen by 100% since 2012/13.
- 2012/13 – 1,687 homes
- 2013/14 – 1,323
- 2014/15 – 1,076
- 2015/16 – 336
- 2016/17 – 0
The current level of government funding in real terms is £0.5-billion per year. Far short of the £2.7-billion Sadiq Khan is looking for.
What do the experts say?
The Mayor has received support for his affordable homes campaign from commentators and analysts.
Kath Scanlon, London School of Economics, said: “The UK as a whole doesn't have a housing crisis-London and the south-east does.
"The crisis stems from strong demand and weak supply, and the Mayor's new figures emphasise the scale of the shortfall."
Jonathan Seager, Executive Director, Housing, London First said: “The only way London can significantly increase housebuilding is through additional government investment. And further devolution of powers to City Hall.
"Now is the time for all layers of government to work in partnership with developers to ensure London meets its housebuilding target.”
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