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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today gives a major boost to councils in their plans to get building again with his new programme to help get 10,000 new council homes underway over the next four years.
In what will be the first ever City Hall programme dedicated to supporting council housing, Sadiq is using funds from the £1.67bn he secured from government in the Spring Statement to help support London’s councils to increase dramatically the rate of council homebuilding in the capital.
The Mayor, who grew up on a council estate, is determined to point the way towards what he believes is needed to truly fix the housing crisis: a modern comeback for council housing.
In the 1970s London councils were supported by central government and built more than 20,000 homes a year, but that number plummeted to almost zero during the 1990s. Today, councils’ ambitions are hamstrung by central government rules and funding cuts, meaning they 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.
While the government continues to drag its feet in freeing councils to build, Sadiq is leading the way by using his powers and resources to help councils across London go as far as they can. Alongside offers of greater expertise and flexibility over funding, he is offering councils the opportunity to bid for grant funding at a special rate – the first time this has ever been done – which will allow them more easily to offer new homes based on social rent levels.
This will make a real difference to the tens of thousands of Londoners on social housing waiting lists. Sadiq is looking forward to working closely with newly-elected council leaders and council Mayors to start more homes for social rent.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I grew up on a council estate and I know first-hand the vital role social housing plays in London. Council homes for social rent bind our city together, and they have been built thanks to the ambition of London’s councils over many decades.
“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.”
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