London mayor Sadiq Khan has set a target of 66,000 new homes each year in the capital – more than double the 29,000 currently being built – of which 65 per cent need to be affordable
Khan has published targets for every borough in the capital ahead of his draft London Plan, set to be unveiled next month.
The figures were calculated through City Hall’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment.
Describing his new targets as ‘tough’, Khan said: ‘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.
‘We can all see the results: too many luxury penthouses that only the very wealthiest investors can afford and nowhere near enough homes within reach of ordinary Londoners.’
But he admitted the borough targets would be unachievable without central government action.
He called for new powers for councils to borrow to invest in homes and a massive increase in government funding for housebuilding and infrastructure.
And he said the government would need to raise funding for affordable housing in London to around £2.7 billionn a year – more than five times current spending levels.
The executive director of housing at business representative organisation London First, Jonathan Seager, said housing was one of the most serious challenges facing business, ‘preventing firms from recruiting and retaining the talent they need to grow and succeed’.
He said: ‘The only way London can significantly increase housebuilding is through additional government investment and the further devolution of powers to City Hall.’
Khan’s proposals have not gone down well in all quarters.
Kingston Upon Thames council leader Kevin Davis expressed disappointment at the mayor’s target for his borough of 1,364 new homes a year.
‘The figures published by the mayor are about double our own estimates of housing need and therefore our initial response is huge scepticism as to their appropriateness for Kingston or the ability of the mayor to deliver enough infrastructure to support them,’ he said.
‘Until we see the detail of how the mayor has arrived at these enormous figures, it is difficult to comment further but we will be engaging with our residents and responding to the mayor in due course.’