Channel 1 Los Angeles
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has urged ministers to back his ambition to address London’s inequalities in health, wealth and happiness by empowering boroughs to build more council houses.
Launching a major new report, he has called on the Government to “stop blocking the aspiration of London’s councils to build”, and to give the capital the funding and powers needed to build large numbers of new council homes.
Increasing the number of genuinely affordable homes – particularly council homes and homes at social rent – has been the Mayor’s number-one housing priority. Last year 3,300 new council homes were started in London – the highest number since 1983 – but the Mayor has warned that achieving his ambitious targets will only be possible if ministers back him, and councils, to deliver.
In order to deliver the council homes London so desperately needs the report, released by the Greater London Authority today, is calling on Government to undertake several key reforms to make it easier for local authorities to build. These include:
- legislating to allow councils to purchase land compulsorily more cheaply,
- setting aside more Government-owned land for council housing and
- committing to a decade-long funding plan for council homebuilding and removing counterproductive restrictions on use of Right to Buy receipts.
As Sadiq’s landmark £1bn ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’ programme enters its third year, new research from City Hall has identified the three key challenges faced by councils wishing to build more homes and suggests what can be done to overcome them. The areas identified were:
- The supply and acquisition of suitable land by councils on which to build affordable homes
- The funding crisis facing many local authorities after years of austerity
- Increasing the levels of skills and expertise available to councils, many of which are starting to build council homes again for the first time in decades.
The Building London’s Future report examines each of these areas and makes suggestions for actions that can be taken by the Mayor, councils and Government for a dramatic increase in the supply of council housing in London.
All these issues have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which is why the Mayor has put fresh investment, developing new skills and new methods of construction at the forefront of his plan to ‘reboot the London housing sector’ in the wake of Covid-19.