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Khan says the affordable housing cupboard is bare

Words: Laura Edgar
Sadiq Khan / Steve Punter

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has accused former mayor Boris Johnson of “leaving the cupboard bare” when it comes to the delivery of affordable homes in the capital.

Khan said that after taking office following the election on 5 May, he asked “officials to produce an urgent audit of City Hall’s preparedness to tackle the housing crisis”.

“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.”

The audit, the mayor said, showed that affordable home delivery is nearly at a standstill. Last year, the mayor delivered 4,880 affordable homes, the lowest, Khan said, since current records began in 1991.

There is also an “acute construction crisis”. Annual construction apprenticeship starts in London are averaging at seven per cent of the national total, according to the audit, with 100,000 planned apprenticeships missed during Johnson’s second term.

Khan said the process of identifying public land for homes is “flawed”.

Following a visit to the Landmark Court site in Southwark, which is owned by Transport for London (TfL), Khan said he believes the site has the capacity to deliver 120 new homes.

Khan plans to build new homes on land owned by City Hall, including TfL land, and to fast-track scores of sites like Landmark Court that are “suitable for development, but not utilised by the previous mayor”.

Additionally, the new mayor says he wants to develop other public sector land across London and will work with the government to “ensure a far more active role for City Hall in identifying surplus public land” that can be used for affordable housing.

Khan said: “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.”

Khan added that he will be outlining plans in the coming months.

Image credit | Steve Punter