London Conservatives are taking aim at Mayor Sadiq Khan over the lack of progress on the capital’s housing crisis.
New figures reveal less than a third of the homes Khan started building in his first term have been completed.
Khan had a target of 116,000 new houses to be built by 2022 and was given a £4.82bn government grant to start these homes.
Coronavirus meant the mayor has an extra year, to 2023, to reach the goal.
The Mayor’s spokesperson says he’s still on track to meet the target.
London Tories, however, say the mayor has delivered only his minimum target of housing starts.
There’s been a flow-on effect to the slow start.
Close to 57,000 home had started construction but just 16,700 have been completed.
The pandemic means Khan now has just over two years to start building more homes than he managed in four.
Sprint, not a marathon
London Assembly Member Andrew Boff said
“The Mayor needs to change approach and treat housebuilding as a sprint, not a marathon.
“The more homes he starts now, the sooner they will be completed and ready for Londoners to move in.
“By scrapping his no net loss policy of Strategic Industrial Land, which in effect is stopping housebuilding on large swathes of brownfield land, Khan could speed up housebuilding.”
Khan’s team questioned the numbers, saying the London Conservatives showed “a fundamental misunderstanding” of how the programme is run.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “ The current programme is based on a funding settlement to start to build 116,000 affordable homes by 2023 and the Mayor remains on course to do this.
“Indeed last year he broke his own record with more than 17,000 affordable homes started on London sites in 2019/20 – this exceeded the target agreed with Government and is the most since City Hall’s records began in 2003.
He added: “Annual housebuilding targets are agreed with ministers each year and the Mayor is confident of meeting these once again despite the massive uncertainty caused by the pandemic and Brexit.”
However, the mayor this month called on more government funding to increase the supply of council housing.
Khan’s plan also wanted more government-owned land set aside for more council housing and for City Hall to be able to purchase private land for council housing at cheaper rates.