London Mayor ‘falling short’ of housing targets

Mayor’s Office says report from London Assembly Housing Committee is “nonsense”.

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The London Assembly Housing Committee’s annual report claims Mayor Sadiq Khan is failing to hit his housebuilding targets.

But a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office brands the report “nonsense”.

The Affordable Housing Monitor report highlights that 41,371 homes that were built between 2016-17 – 24,629 short of the Mayor’s 66,000-a-year target.

The report also highlights that fewer than 5,500 affordable homes were built in 2017-18 – less than the average of 5,500 in the previous decade.

Further, 14% of all home starts so far this Mayoral term have been for social rented homes – despite social rented homes accounting for nearly half of all housing need in the city.

In response to the report, housing Committee Chair Sian Berry said: “The Mayor is letting down Londoners. He promised us more affordable housing but so far has fallen very short of his promises, particularly on social housing which is our greatest need.

“With young and lower-income people suffering the most from the housing crisis, we can’t wait much longer for his policies to kick in.

“The Mayor must fulfil his pledges. It is in his power to ease the housing crisis and meet his targets – especially as he has received new funding.

“There is now no excuse for genuinely affordable housing to be out of reach for Londoners who want a secure home,” she said.

The Mayor has received £4.82bn to deliver 116,000 affordable home starts by March 2022.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said: “This nonsense report is the exact opposite of the truth.

“In reality, Sadiq Khan has exceeded all his housing targets and is building a record number of social and affordable homes.

“Last year City Hall started building more social homes than ever before – more than the rest of England and Wales combined.”

Supporting its argument, the Mayor’s Office released stats showing:

  • There were 12,555 starts of genuinely affordable homes in 2017/18. This is the highest level of affordable starts since responsibility for affordable housing funding was devolved to the Mayor of London.
  • Included within these affordable home starts were 2,811 homes based on social rent levels, after there being zero homes at such levels in the final year of the previous Mayor’s programme.
  • Last month, Khan agreed plans worth more than £1 billion with 26 London boroughs to build 11,000 new council homes at social rent levels over the next four years, as part of his ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’ – the first-ever City Hall programme dedicated to council homebuilding.
  • Affordable housing reporting is backloaded within financial years, and so with starts so far this year already more than five times higher than at the same time last year, the Mayor is on track to exceed his target of starting 14,000 affordable homes this year.
  • The Mayor using “all the powers at his disposal” to drive up the proportion of affordable housing in London, and his threshold approach to planning, with schemes delivering 35% genuinely affordable on private land, or 50% on public land, is already seeing results.
  • Toward the end of the previous Mayor’s term, affordable housing fell to just 13 per cent of new homes given planning permission. In two years that has increased to 31 per cent of homes approved by council planning committees so far this year being affordable. (This 31 per cent approvals at planning committees stat is from from Molior’s Q3 2018 sales analysis, and refers to schemes of 20+ private units that have been approved at committees so far in 2018).
  • Affordable housing reporting is typically backloaded within financial years.

In the first six months of this year, there were five times as many starts than in the same period last year, and the Mayor went on to exceed his delivery targets for affordable housing in 2017/18 and get 12,555 genuinely affordable homes started.

Therefore, the spokesperson said, the Mayor is on track to deliver his target of starting 14,000 affordable homes in this financial year.

 

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