Sadiq Khan reveals his spending plans for £3bn Treasury housing fund

 
Mark Sands
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Khan is seeking to sell off public land for affordable housing development. But probably not this bit. (Source: Getty)

A huge injection of Treasury cash will be used to build a combination of homes to rent and buy in the capital following a deal between the government and City Hall.

In the Autumn Statement, chancellor Philip Hammond revealed the Treasury has agreed to hand City Hall of control of £3.15bn in funding to develop 90,000 homes over the six years.

And now London mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed his plans for that cash, with just under a third of all properties ring-fenced for rental at new “London Affordable Rents” yet to be published.

The remainder will be divided between shared ownership and London Living Rents, which will be priced at a third of average income in the relevant borough.

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The Living Rents scheme will also be based on allowing tenants to save up for deposits, with providers expected to support a move to ownership, in some cases of the property they are already renting, within 10 years.

However, it is expected that the majority of homes will be delivered by housing associations, rather than private developers.

And the figures will only relate to housing “starts” rather than completed builds, which requires little more than excavation having started on sites.

And City Hall estimates that there are more than 250,000 homes currently “in the pipeline” in London, but yet to be constructed.

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According to Greater London Authority statistics, 63,637 affordable homes were started in London between 2009/10 and 2014/15, with the new plan representing an increase of just under 50 per cent on the previous period.

“I have been clear that fixing the housing crisis will be a marathon and not a sprint, but I am determined to lead from the front and get on with building genuinely affordable homes for Londoners to rent and buy,” he said.

GLA figures show that affordable homes comprised just 13 per cent of new homes approved in London in 2014/15, but Khan campaigned for the mayoralty on the basis of dramatically boosting access to housing.

Khan has already moved to sell off Transport for London land at below market rates to boost development of cheaper homes, and retains a “long-term strategic aim” of half of all homes in the city being affordable.

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In a bid to secure greater numbers of affordable homes from the private sector, City Hall will also offer to streamline approvals for developments meeting affordability criteria under new plans.

Projects which include upwards of 35 per cent affordable housing without public subsidies will face less rigorous requirements for information on viability in a bid to lure developers into building cheaper homes in the capital.

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