The Mayor has sent a press release to journalists loudly proclaiming the number of housing starts in London in the past year. He boasted that 10,092 homes were started, and 8,114 affordable homes were completed.
His bluster doesn’t fool experts – London has a serious housing crisis, and these inadequate numbers don’t go nearly far enough in addressing the issue.
In response to the Mayor’s announcement, as Labour group spokesperson on Housing, I released the following statement:
“Boris is woefully underachieving when it comes to tackling the housing crisis in London and he should do a lot more than settle for the small target he’s set himself. There is a chronic shortage of housing in London and annual rents in the private rented sector have soared, costing Londoners £741 more than last year. Not only is the Mayor not regulating rents, but he’s not tackling the need for new supply of affordable housing.
“Even the ‘affordable housing’ that Boris has built is unaffordable to the vast majority of Londoners. The Mayor is charging up to 80 per cent of market rent for affordable housing – which in some boroughs would require tenants to have a six-figure income.
“The real need is for social rented housing with rents at about a third of the market rate, but the Mayor has effectively ended the building of social rented homes. As a consequence, in the first year of Boris’s programme, the number of social rented homes started plummeted by 91 per cent to only 983. The Mayor needs to build double the amount of homes he plans to, and ensure they are truly affordable to those who need them.
“The Mayor’s poor performance on affordable housing starts is bad enough, but his completions are even more worrying. His completions are down over a half from what they were the previous year, from 17,240 to 8,114.
“It’s no wonder housing minister Mark Prisk wrote a letter to Boris, leaked early last month, telling him to get a move on and start a real building programme to deal with the capital’s housing crisis.”