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Mayor of London plans to double housebuilding rate

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced plans to double the number of new homes in London to 66,000 a year.

The new housebuilding targets would see the number of homes built annually rise by 37,000 to 66,000 – more than double the 29,000 delivered last year.

The target was revealed following a strategic market housing assessment conducted by City Hall.

Under the plans, a number of London boroughs including Bromley, Ealing, Enfield, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Merton would see their current housebuilding targets doubled to meet demand.

Merton’s current target of 411 homes would rise by 223 per cent to 1,328 a year, while Bexley would see a 179 per cent rise to 1,245 homes, up from the current 446.

Announcing the increase in housebuilding targets, the mayor also called on prime minister Theresa May to use the Budget to give London a “profound increase in investment and powers” to tackle the housing crisis.

He claimed there were “too many luxury penthouses” being built and not enough affordable houses that “ordinary Londoners” could afford.

According to the mayor, government investment is required to ensure 65 per cent of the new homes are classed as affordable, which Mr Khan said the private sector was unable to deliver alone.

As part of the new powers, Mr Khan is asking the government to allow councils more scope to borrow for housebuilding and have the ability to free up public land for development.

This comes along with the recommendation that the government increases the funding for affordable housing in London to around £2.7bn a year – more than five times the current level.  

However, concerns have risen over the housing market in London and its impact on major long-term projects.

Last week housebuilder Barratt exited a £6bn deal with Enfield Council for a 10,000-home project, with the instability of the London market believed to be a contributing factor.

Placing the blame for the current crisis at the door of his predecessor Boris Johnson, Mr Khan slammed the “systematic failure” he claimed had crippled London’s housing sector.

“I cannot overestimate how terrible a situation we inherited,” he said.

“Successive prime ministers have failed to invest anywhere near enough in building new affordable homes.

“The previous mayor stopped investing in homes for social rent altogether and cut the number of new affordable homes he funded to the lowest level since records began.

“We can all see the results – too many luxury penthouses that only the very wealthiest investors can afford and nowhere near enough homes within reach of ordinary Londoners.

“We have spent 18 months starting the marathon job of clearing up this mess – we’ve had to totally rebuild the housing system from the bottom up.

“I’m using every power and pound I have at my disposal to tackle this crisis head on, and I am today setting tough targets for every part of London to make its contribution.

“Many boroughs, housing associations, homebuilders and others in London are ready to step up - but we simply can’t do it on our own.”

Mr Khan’s claims are based on calculations by the Greater London Authority as part of their Strategic Housing Market Assessment.

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