Mayor reveals full extent of London’s housing crisis

16 May 2016

Mayor reveals full extent of London’s housing crisis

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today (16 May 2016) exposed the full extent of the capital’s housing crisis and accused the previous mayor of letting down Londoners and “leaving the cupboard bare” when it comes to delivering affordable housing in the city.

Immediately after taking office last week, Sadiq Khan asked officials to produce an urgent audit of City Hall’s preparedness to tackle the housing crisis. The audit revealed the shocking scale of the challenge now facing the new Mayor to gear up City Hall to tackle the housing crisis. It showed:

·         Affordable home delivery at near-standstill – last year, the previous mayor delivered the lowest number of new affordable homes since current records began back in 1991 – just 4,880 – and left a legacy of just 13 per cent affordable homes coming forward through planning permissions granted under his watch.

·         An acute construction skills crisis – with annual construction apprenticeship starts in London averaging just seven per cent of the national total and with a total of 100,000 planned apprenticeships starts missed during the previous mayor’s second term.

·         A flawed process of identifying public land for homes – as it has been revealed the previous mayor’s work to produce a digital ‘Doomsday Book’ of public land in fact includes scores of sites that will never be built on, including 10 Downing Street, City Hall, and the British Museum.

The Mayor today visited the Landmark Court site in Southwark, which is owned by Transport for London and is land he believes is ripe for using to build at least 120 new homes.

Sadiq Khan has pledged to build new homes on land owned by City Hall, including Transport for London land, and intends to fast-track scores of sites, like Landmark Court, that are suitable for development, but not utilised by the previous mayor.

The Mayor, who wants to see 50 per cent of all new homes in London being genuinely affordable, also plans to bid to develop other public sector land across London and will work with Government ministers to ensure a far more active role for City Hall in identifying surplus public land that can be used for the construction of the new affordable housing London needs.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“London gave me the opportunity to go from the council estate where I grew up to being able to buy a family home we could afford.  But today, too many Londoners are being priced out of our city.

“One of the first things we did when we got to City Hall was open the books and look at what was already in the pipeline and it seems the previous mayor has grossly let down Londoners by leaving the cupboard bare when it comes to delivering affordable housing.

“I am determined to fix London’s housing crisis and ensure that all Londoners have the opportunity to rent or buy a decent home at a price they can afford, but the scale of the challenge is now clearer than ever and we’re not going to be able to turn things around overnight.

“We will be outlining our plans in the coming months, but one of the first things we can do is work with Transport for London to fast-track their numerous surplus sites for development that have previously just been sat on.

“There is no doubt we have our work cut out, but I plan to personally get to grips with the mess that has been left behind and will insist on far higher levels of affordable housing in new developments.”

Notes to editors

·         Of the 4,880 affordable homes constructed last year, only 738 were built for social rent at genuinely affordable rent levels. This is down by 94 per cent from four years earlier when 11,370 were completed.

·         Under the last Mayor’s watch, just three per cent of approvals in 2014/15 were for social housing, down from 18 per cent in 2007/08.

·         The previous Mayor missed out on 100,000 apprenticeships starts during his second term. There were only 151,000 new apprenticeships between August 2012 and January 2016 compared to his target of 250,000.

·         The proportion of Londoners aged between 25 and 34 who own their own home has fallen from 38 per cent in 2008 to just a quarter last year.

·        The site’s current tenant is in dispute with Southwark Council for using the site as a car park, as this is in breach of their permission to use the site for storage.