Boris puts up £5bn for Housing, and extra cash for transport

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a £5 billion investment plan to support the capital's housing market over the next three years.

The Housing Strategy aims to boost the construction sector in London during the economic downturn, support the industry to deliver new affordable homes, and provide more sustainable routes to home ownership.

The strategy includes a range of ideas that will replace "outdated policies", which Boris says "no longer apply to the current housing market and economic climate in London".  It aims to embrace new opportunities provided by the Homes and Communities Agency London Board, which will be chaired by the Mayor. The draft strategy will see the Mayor working closely with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), investing nearly £2 billion every year from the London housing budget to deliver new homes and improve existing homes.

Funding will be used to kick-start stalled developments in London, to acquire unsold market homes for affordable housing and to bring forward public sector land for new development. In addition funding will be used to develop subsidised rent and rent-to-buy schemes, which could be sold at a profit or turned into permanent affordable homes when the upturn arrives.

Through the strategy’s ‘First Steps’ programme, the Mayor wants to increase the opportunity for home ownership in London by raising the household income limit to £72,000 for low cost ownership schemes and by simplifying access to them. This would enable any household earning at the basic rate of income tax to qualify and is a move away from eligibility based on employment categories.

The Mayor also wants to cut the numbers of people living in temporary accommodation by delivering thousands of new homes for social rent and introducing more flexible schemes for social tenants who aspire to own their home or want to move elsewhere in the capital. The strategy aims to initiate a big increase in the number of family sized homes available to rent and to buy, and to double the number of accredited landlords in the private sector to protect rights for tenants.

In a separate announcement, the Mayor has allocated an extra £100,000 a year to each Boroughs for local transport improvements, as part of a £168m transport plan.

Funding for local schemes is allocated each year by Transport for London in response to applications from boroughs based on their Local Implementation Plans for transport

TfL funds hundreds of local schemes each year, an examples for 2009/10 would be the £85,000 to help fund the installation of 22 Electrical Recharging Points in the LB Ealing.

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