Sadiq Khan refuses to set affordable house building target

The Mayor of London said he was more concerned that constructed homes ended up affordable

Jon Stone
Wednesday 25 May 2016 12:27 BST
Khan's first Mayor's Questions

The new Mayor of London has refused to set a target for building more affordable houses, arguing that to do so would be pointless

Sadiq Khan was asked during his first appearance before the London Assembly how many homes he would build in each of the next four years.

Conservative AM Tony Devenish asked the Mayor for “numbers please” on the issue, which was central to this month’s mayoral election campaign.

But Mr Khan said he was more concerned at the nature of homes that were built rather than the number.

“I’m not giving numbers and I’ve been quite clear during the campaign when other candidates were throwing around figures,” he told the Assembly.

“It’s making sure the right source of homes are built rather than an obsession with numbers.

“It’s possible to build 50,000 homes a year, some people say. But there’s no point if they’re all bought by investors in the Middle East and Asia, they’re used as second homes, or they sit empty.

“The important thing is to ensure the right source of homes are built in London that are affordable for Londoners to buy or rent. That’s what I intend to do.”

Mr Devenish admonished the Mayor for his policy and said targets had to be set as soon as possible.

“Mr Mayor, if you don’t have targets, things do not get done,” he said.

“Your officers in this building will not get things done, the industry will not get things done, and Londoners will have happening to them what happened under Ken Livingstone: fewer affordable homes.”

The Mayor replied that it was “refreshing” to see a Conservative “obsessed” by targets – noting that the AM’s party had abolished many in government.

Mr Khan’s predecessor Boris Johnson had a target to build 55,000 affordable homes between April 2011 and March 2015. GLA figures suggest this target was missed by about 4,000 homes, however

Mr Khan has take a different approach, pledging that some private tenancies will instead be “London Living Rent” – where rent is no more than a third of the person’s earnings. He has yet to lay out specifics of how this will be achieved.

He also has a target for 50 per cent of new homes to be classed as “affordable”.

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