London must start 25,000 new homes by March 2023 to meet 116,000 target

London Mayor Sadiq Khan (PA Wire)
London Mayor Sadiq Khan (PA Wire)

Sadiq Khan has been criticised by a senior London Tory following the release of the latest house building figures.

On Friday, the Mayor of London hailed new statistics which showed that more council homes were started in the capital than the rest of the UK combined over the last year.

According to the latest figures, 5,494 council homes were started in London in comparison to 4,325 across England. Within that number, 895 were started although not completed in Southwark - the highest across London.

London Assembly member Andrew Boff, however, critcised the Mayor and speaking to the Standard, claimed Mr Khan’s failure to match his affordable housing goals was “incompetence on a huge scale”.

Commenting on Friday’s figures, Mr Khan said: “There’s no quick fix to London’s housing crisis, but we’re taking significant steps in the right direction by backing a new renaissance in council homebuilding.

“In London today, we’re not just building more council homes, we’re building better homes too. The new generation of council homes are some of the best that have ever been built: modern, sustainable and fit for the 21st century.

“These new homes form a key part of building a better London for everyone – one that is greener, fairer and more prosperous for all.

“But the headwinds from recent economic chaos, combined with the effects of the pandemic, Brexit, the soaring cost of construction materials and rising inflation are hitting housebuilders hard and making housing delivery increasingly challenging.”

Despite increasing the number of council homes built every year since 2016, the recent figures are just a small part of Mr Khan’s affordable housing target.

The Mayor of London was given a £4.82billion grant by the Government in 2016 to build 116,000 new affordable homes by 2021, though this was later extended to 2023 due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A further 35,000 homes are expected to be delivered from £4billion of funding between 2021 and 2026.

According to a new report from the London Assembly housing committee, a total of 25,000 new homes must be started by March 2023 to meet the 116,000 target.

The reported added that as of October this year, around 78 per cent of the homes required under for the 2023 target have been started, while none have been started under the 2021 to 2026 target.

“Council homes are only a small port of his overall affordable housing target. This is the one he talks up because the rest of the programme is going so badly,” Mr Boff added.

“Six years into the scheme and he is still 21,000 homes away from his target and has yet to allocate the over half a billion of the fund he has been given. It is incompetence on a huge scale.”