The mayor of London has announced a £1bn scheme for 26 London boroughs to build an extra 11,000 council homes at social rent levels, plus a further 3,750 other homes in a bid to tackle the housing crisis.
Sadiq Khan announced that under the new ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’ programme, the first-ever city hall programme dedicated to council homebuilding, councils will increase their buildings rates by five times over the next four years.
The scheme was first launched in May, promising 10,000 new houses in London, but due to “big uptake” and “overwhelming interest” from boroughs, Khan has now announced that an additional 11,154 houses will be built over the next four years.
The largest sum secured was £107m by Newham Borough Council, followed by Ealing’s £99m, with both planning to build over 1,000 properties.
Khan said: “London’s housing crisis is hugely complex and has been decades in the making. There is no simple fix – but council housing is the most important part of the solution.
“Londoners need more council homes that they can genuinely afford, and local authorities have a fundamental role to play in getting London building the homes we need for the future.”
Khan welcomed the prime minister’s recent announcement that councils will be able to borrow more money to build houses, but said that lifting the borrowing cap alone wouldn’t fix the housing crisis alone.
He said: “Today, City Hall is using money we secured from government to help councils go much further.
“But let me be clear: lifting the borrowing cap for councils must be just the first step of reform, not the last.”
He said that the money currently received from the government for new social and affordable homes needed to be quadrupled to help tackle the problem.
The mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “I am very happy our bid for £107m of funding from the Mayor of London has been successful.
“This funding will kick-start our ambitious housing programme, which will see the construction of more than 1,000 quality homes across 40 sites in Newham started by 2022, and available at London Affordable Rent.”
He continued: “Newham residents are at the forefront of the housing crisis. Too many families are desperately in need of a sustainable home they can genuinely afford.
“Only through a massive council housebuilding programme can we begin to address the scale of this challenge.”
Last month, Theresa May announced £2bn in funding for affordable housing to be assigned over the next 10 years.
Source: Public Sector Executive