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Khan announces £1bn council house building programme

Sadiq Khan has agreed plans worth more than £1bn with 26 London boroughs to build 11,000 new council homes at social rent levels over the next four years.

The plans will see councils increase their building rates over the next four years to a total estimated at five times greater than over the previous four years.

The funding will form the cornerstone of the London mayor’s ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’ programme.

When Mr Khan launched the programme in May, it set a target for 10,000 new homes – and today he has responded to overwhelming interest from boroughs by agreeing allocations for 11,154 new council homes at social rent levels, and a further 3,570 other homes, including those for London Living Rent.

‘London’s housing crisis is hugely complex and has been decades in the making,’ said the London Mayor.

‘There is no simple fix – but council housing is the most important part of the solution. Londoners need more council homes that they can genuinely afford, and local authorities have a fundamental role to play in getting London building the homes we need for the future.’

The Mayor of London also warned that the recent announcement by Theresa May that the Government is lifting the borrowing cap for councils to fund new homes will not solve the growing housing crisis around the country.

‘Lifting the borrowing cap for councils must be just the first step of reform, not the last,’ said Mr Khan.

‘We need at least four times the amount of money we currently get from Government for new social and affordable homes, and we need far greater powers to step in and buy land for new council housing.

‘The scale of what I have announced today shows the ambition is there in London to build a new generation of council homes – Ministers now urgently need to step up and go the distance too.’

The mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said they will receive £107m under the scheme to build more than 1,000 homes across 40 sites in the borough.

‘We have over 27,000 households on our housing waiting list and more than 4,800 households in temporary accommodation,’ said the Newham mayor.

‘This is why I have committed to build over 1,000 new council homes at social rent levels over the next four years. Only through a massive council housebuilding programme can we begin to address the scale of this challenge.’

Responding to the announcement, Centre for London’s research manager, Victoria Pinoncely, said: ‘London’s affordability crisis means that an increasing number of Londoners are unable to afford to buy or rent housing on the open market. This has intensified demand for submarket provision and socially rented housing, while local authority housing stock has been falling.

‘The Mayor’s £1bn plan to build 11,000 new council homes therefore brings much-needed investment across London.

‘Grants have been agreed for 27 of London’s 33 councils, which shows a huge interest from boroughs to deliver council homes again and is welcome given the uneven geography of housing needs across the capital.’

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