Prime Minister David Cameron has given Conservative candidate for mayor of London Zac Goldsmith a boost today by announcing that he will amend the national government's housing bill to address concerns over a lack of affordable housing in the capital.
Cameron said that he is incorporating an amendment put forward by Goldsmith to create a binding legal guarantee that two new affordable homes will be built for every one high-value council home sold under the government's extended "Right to Buy" programme.
Critics of the Right to Buy scheme have questioned whether the government would be able to replace the public housing sold off as part of the programme, which gives housing association tenants the chance to buy their homes at a discount, with the price cut funded by the sale of high-value council homes.
"Lack of affordable homes is the number one issue for London, but we have the tools to solve it," Goldsmith said today. "We have the land, the finance and the government is showing loud and clear that it has the political will."
"If elected mayor I will continue to work with the government to deliver the action London needs."
Commenting on the announcement, Cameron said the government is "taking unprecedented action to help hard-working people own their own home and nowhere is this more important than London".
"I know that Zac Goldsmith has placed tackling London's housing problem at the heart of his campaign and I look forward to working with him to deliver this policy."
In last month's Autumn Statement, chancellor George Osborne announced a new "London Help to Buy" scheme in the capital, doubling the amount of government equity loan support available to Londoners. Under the national Help to Buy programme, home-buyers are eligible for loans of up to 20 per cent the price of a new home, compared to the 40 per cent level which will be offered to home-buyers in London.
At the time, Osborne also said he would expand so-called shared ownership schemes in London, allowing people in the capital to buy a share of the home they are currently renting.
Goldsmith said today that a combination of the expanded Help to Buy and shared ownership schemes in the capital, along with the binding legal guarantee for replacing sold council houses, amounted to a £2.5bn investment in London.