Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan calls for £4.9bn affordable homes investment



The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called for the government to agree to a £4.9bn-a-year investment package to keep London building, protect construction jobs in the capital, and increase the supply of new social homes.

On Monday, the government heeded the mayor’s call for the current affordable housing programme to be extended.

Now, he is asking ministers to commit to invest just under £5bn a year to build council, social and affordable housing.

The funding would be used to support two policies: a ‘buyer of last resort’ scheme and a tenure conversions programme.

The £3.5bn ‘buyer of last resort’ scheme would allow councils and housing associations to buy unsold private homes at a cost price, and turn them into social housing if a buyer cannot be found on the open market.

Both councils and housing associations would be part of the process from the start, ensuring quality standards are met.

The £1.33bn tenure conversions programme will include converting housing currently planned for low-cost ownership and sale into homes for social and low-cost rent.

If fully funded, the programme would reportedly deliver 34,597 homes at a tenure split of 70% London affordable rent, 20% London living rent and 10% London shared ownership.

City Hall’s analysis states that this would require 16,899 conversions from currently-agreed tenures.

Sadiq Khan said: “The government’s economic statement [today] is a chance for the chancellor to put building new homes at the heart of a plan to kickstart the recovery.

“The work of London’s ‘Covid-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce’ has shown the broad support across business, trades unions and the housing sector for greater government backing for new, genuinely affordable homes.

“Ministers now have a unique opportunity to help address the issues of housing supply and affordability while also underpinning London’s economic recovery by supporting tens of thousands of jobs and training opportunities at a time when the housing market is in jeopardy.”

Helen Evans, chair at the G15 and chief executive at Network Homes, commented: “Housing associations are poised and ready to support the capital's economic recovery.

“After we emerge from this crisis, the need for social homes for a broad range of people will be immediate; it's become even clearer that our essential workers, former rough sleepers, those who are suffering an economic shock, and those in overcrowded housing need a steady supply of affordable, especially social, homes.”

Councillor Darren Rodwell, London councils’ executive member for housing and planning, added: “We share the prime minister’s ambitions to ‘build build build’ — but this will only be possible through significant investment.

“London boroughs have long called for more powers and resources to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing.”

Jonathan Seager, executive director at Place at London First, stated: “The proposals from the taskforce for government investment to support affordable housing will not only deliver these much needed new homes, it will also boost the wider housebuilding industry, unlocking private investment and providing confidence to the market to build.”   


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