The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a programme aimed at boosting the building of new council homes, aiming for 10,000 over the next four years.
Sadiq is using funds from the £1.67bn he secured from government in the Spring Statement to help support London’s councils to increase the rate of council homebuilding in the capital.
The Mayor says he believes a “modern comeback for council housing” is needed to fix the housing crisis.
In the 1970s London councils were supported by central government and built more than 20,000 homes a year, but that number fell to almost zero during the 1990s. In 2018 councils are able to contribute less than two per cent of London’s new homes per year. London councils built 2,100 homes over the last seven years, including 300 that were completed last year.
Alongside offers of expertise and flexibility over funding, the Mayor is offering councils the opportunity to bid for grant funding at a special rate which should allow them more easily to offer new homes based on social rent levels.
The first deals struck under “Building Council Homes for Londoners” are with Waltham Forest Newham and Lewisham, and should result in 2500 new homes by 2022.
The programme also offers councils a way to ringfence their Right to Buy receipts to help them build new homes to replace those sold in the local area.
Right to Buy was introduced in 1980 and, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government figures, it has resulted in 306,000 social homes sold by councils in London since 1980. During the same period, councils have built only 62,000 homes at social rent – equivalent to just one in five of those homes sold being replaced.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Back in the 1970s, when I was growing up, London councils built thousands of social homes, providing homes for families and generations of Londoners. But the government has turned its back on local authorities, severely hampering their ambition to build by cutting funding and imposing arbitrary restrictions on borrowing.”
“I am proud to launch Building Council Homes for Londoners – the first ever City Hall programme dedicated to new council housing. I want to help councils get back to building homes for Londoners again, and I’m doing that with support from the £1.67bn fund I secured from government to help get 10,000 new homes underway over the next four years.”
“I am offering councils expertise and resources from City Hall to scale up their homebuilding programmes, and I will help them to replace homes sold through Right to Buy. The government is failing to enable councils to replace the hundreds of thousands of council homes sold through Right to Buy, and so I will do all I can to help councils replace as many of them as possible.”
Building Council Homes for Londoners aims to support councils to enhance their capacity to deliver large-scale new-build programmes with skills, expertise and resources from City Hall.