The Mayor of London has unveiled plans to use £1.67bn of funding to support local councils’ plans to build 10,000 new homes over the next four years.
Sadiq Khan will use a portion of the funds supplied by the government in the Spring Statement to set up the first ever City Hall programme dedicated to supporting council housing. London councils have built 2,100 homes over the last seven years, including 300 that were completed last year. Khan said the Building Council Homes for Londoners programme will “increase dramatically the rate of council homebuilding in the capital”.
As part of the launch, the Mayor also announced a trio of opening deals with the council leader of Walthaw Forest and mayors of Newham and Lewisham. Waltham Forest plans to start 525 new council homes with £26m of funding from City Hall over the next four years, while both Newham and Lewisham have each committed to starting 1,000 new council homes by 2022.
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 want to help councils get back to building homes for Londoners again”
“I want to help councils get back to building homes for Londoners again. 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.”
Alongside funding, the programme will ringfence their Right to Buy receipts to help them build new homes to replace the 306,000 social homes sold by councils in London since 1980. Over that period only 62,000 replacement homes have been built and Khan has pledged the programme will also offer “expertise” to help building of council homes.
Councils have to submit funding bids before 30 September with allocations set to be announced before the end of the year.