New Mayor of London bemoans the capital’s housing crisis
Sadiq Khan has revealed the extent of London’s housing crisis, having commissioned an urgent audit of City Hall’s ability to tackle the problems facing the capital as one of his first actions after his recent election.
The audit revealed an alarming lack of preparedness to effectively tackle a number of issues, including:
- Affordable home delivery – 2015 saw the delivery of the lowest number of new affordable homes since current records began back in 1991. With only 4,880 built last year, just 13% of residential planning permissions under previous mayor Boris Johnson’s were “affordable homes”.
- Industry skills crisis – Annual construction apprenticeship starts in London average just 7% of the national total. Some 100,000 planned apprenticeships starts were missed during the previous mayor's second term alone.
- Identifying public land for homes – The process started by the previous mayor to produce a digital 'Domesday Book' of public land that could be utilised to build new homes in London in fact includes many sites that will never be built on, including 10 Downing Street, the British Museum and City Hall itself.
Khan has already pledged to build new homes on land owned by City Hall, including sites owned by Transport for London, and to fast-track the approval of use of a large number of sites. The new Labour mayor has also said he wants to see 50% of all new homes in London being genuinely affordable.
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.”