In the last of our series of articles from the leading London mayoral candidates, Boris Johnson sets out his plans for housing
Improving housing and driving house building is a major part of my economic plan to create jobs and make London a more attractive place to live and invest in.
The previous Labour government did not trust Ken Livingstone with housing. But I have persuaded No 10 to increase substantially the powers of City Hall and secured £3 billion to tackle London’s housing challenges, boost economic growth and provide affordable housing for low and medium income Londoners.
When I became mayor, I pledged to deliver 50,000 affordable homes in my first term - a record for City Hall’s history. Despite the toughest economic conditions since 1930s, I have beaten this target, with around 52,000 new affordable homes. I have also agreed with the government a housing programme which, if re-elected, will deliver up to 95,000 homes across both terms.
I will make sure that these homes will be delivered to new higher space and design standards, including a significant proportion of family-sized houses. I will also invest £821 million into improving 45,000 existing council-owned homes and ensure empty homes represent no more than 1 per cent of total housing stock, by investing a further £15 million to bring empty homes back into use.
I will continue to promote homeownership. Our First Steps programme, which provides quality homes at an average of 20 per cent below market rates to eligible first-home buyers, has been very successful, helping over 13,000 people buy their own homes so far. We are on track to help 20,000 people by the end of 2012. If re-elected, I will strengthen the scheme, helping a further 25,000 Londoners through the delivery of more than 18,000 First Step homes. I will also promote to Londoners the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme which will reduce deposits for 100,000 buyers.
For all our coverage of the race to be the next mayor of London see our election page. The leading candidates have all set out their housing policies on our website this week.