Government questioned by Khan to upturn money for housing

Per Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, London needs to distribute 66,000 new homes a year to meet growing demand

Khan has requested that the government pledge to “profoundly” raise the funding and powers available to London to meet this requirement.

Step one of Khan’s proposal is his wish for government funding for affordable houses in London to go back to the rate it was in 2009 and 2010.

According to City Hall, they use their Strategic Housing Market Assessment to calculate the figures.

Additionally, it has been proposed that 65% of these new homes would need to be affordable in order to meet the needs of the people of London.

Khan has said his draft London Plan will incorporate;

“strong new measures and set ambitious targets for every London borough to move towards this goal”.

This is around double the present rate of homebuilding.

To achieve this rate of building, Khan has said that powers should be devolved to the capital, including those over public land.

Councils should then be able to borrow this, to invest in homes and raising the finance for housebuilding and infrastructure.

It has been said by City Hall, that for affordable housing only, funding should be increased to £2.7 billion per year, which is roughly five times the current level.

In addition to the affordable housing funding, Khan requests that the government make a long-term commitment in increasing the funding to the levels required to meet London’s need.

Khan 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.

I cannot overestimate how terrible a situation we inherited. Successive prime ministers have failed to invest anywhere near enough in building new affordable homes. The previous mayor stopped investing in homes for social rent altogether and cut the number of new affordable homes he funded to the lowest level since records began.

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.”

Kath Scanlon, London School of Economics, said:

“The UK as a whole doesn’t have a housing crisis – London and the South East do. The crisis stems from strong demand and weak supply, and the mayor’s new figures emphasise the scale of the shortfall. London’s elected authorities could do much more to address the housing issue if they had the tools that major cities in other countries take for granted – particularly around taxation.”

Kieron Hodgson, director of central London planning at Iceni Projects, said:

“The key question is ‘how do you unlock growth in the suburbs?’The mayor needs to ensure that he is not using the cheaper land prices in more peripheral locations as an excuse for ignoring the problems in central London where the housing crisis is most acute. Similarly, it is not helpful to focus on one type of residential product i.e. family homes. We need to build more of every single type and tenure of home – in every part of the city.”

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