London mayor Sadiq Khan has unveiled plans to get work started on 10,000 council homes over the next four years.
The mayor’s Building Council Homes for Londoners initiative has seen deals struck with three London councils already as he aims to tackle the capital’s affordable housing crisis.
Waltham Forest has committed to start 525 new homes with £26m of funding from City Hall over the next four years, while Newham and Lewisham have each pledged to start 1,000 homes by 2022.
The plans will be backed by £1.67bn of funds that central government has committed to City Hall to help boost council housebuilding in London.
In January, prime minister Theresa May declared it was her “personal mission” to fix the UK’s housing crisis.
Under Mr Khan’s scheme, councils will be given the chance to bid for grant funding at a special rate, which City Hall hopes will allow them to more easily offer new homes based on social rent levels.
The initiative will also allow councils to ringfence their Right to Buy receipts to help them build homes to replace those sold in the local area.
Mr Khan’s programme will also include City Hall supporting councils with skills, expertise and resources.
London councils have built just 2,100 homes over the last seven years, according to the mayor’s office.
Mr Khan said: “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.”
London Assembly Housing Committee chair Sian Berry called the mayor’s move as a “step in the right direction to help solve London’s housing crisis”.
But she added: “As a committee, we are also keen to make sure that these grants go only to additional new council homes for Londoners, not replacements for homes being demolished as part of development schemes.”
Andrew Boff, a Conservative on the London Assembly, welcomed the move. However he added: “I hope councils will get a better record of success when building homes than Sadiq Khan has had.
“He’s had a terrible record of house building so far, and well behind in building the 90,000 homes that the government had provided funding for previously, as well as the 80,000 a year he promised before his election.”
He added: “Let’s not keep people waiting.”