Boris “left cupboard bare” on housing

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has accused previous mayor Boris Johnson of letting down Londoners and “leaving the cupboard bare” when it comes to delivering affordable housing in the city.

Sadiq Khan says as soon as he took office he asked officials to produce an audit of City Hall’s preparedness to tackle the housing crisis. He now says that the audit revealed the “shocking scale of the challenge” he now faces.

He says that affordable home delivery is at a near-standstill – and that last year, the previous mayor delivered the lowest number of new affordable homes since current records began back in 1991 – just 4,880 – and left a legacy of just 13 per cent affordable homes coming forward through planning permissions granted under his watch.

He also says that the Boris has left behind an acute construction skills crisis – with annual construction apprenticeship starts in London averaging just seven per cent of the national total and with a total of 100,000 planned apprenticeships starts missed during the previous mayor’s second term.

He has criticised the “flawed” process of identifying public land for homes. Sadiq says the Boris’ work to produce a digital ‘Doomsday Book’ of public land in fact includes scores of sites that will never be built on, including 10 Downing Street, City Hall, and the British Museum.

The Mayor today visited the Landmark Court site in Southwark, which is owned by Transport for London and is land he believes is ripe for using to build at least 120 new homes.

Sadiq Khan has pledged to build new homes on land owned by City Hall, including Transport for London land, and says he intends to fast-track scores of sites, like Landmark Court, that he thinks are suitable for development, but were not utilised by the previous mayor.

The Mayor, who wants to see 50 per cent of all new homes in London being “genuinely affordable”, also says he plans to bid to develop other public sector land across London and will work with Government ministers to ensure a far more active role for City Hall in identifying surplus public land that can be used for the construction of the new affordable housing London needs.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq 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.”

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