The mayor of London has written to the government demanding London gets increased funding under the next Affordable Homes Programme to ensure it can build more ’genuinely affordable homes’.
Sadiq Khan has sent a letter to the housing secretary Robert Jenrick today, calling on him to start negotiations over London’s allotment of funds through the next Affordable Homes Programme and urging him to ensure the capital’s housing needs will be recognised.
The letter comes ahead of decisions on how the £12bn currently pledged to the next Affordable Homes Programme will be spent in the next five years. The next Affordable Homes Programme will begin in April 2021 and end officially in 2026, with some homes being completed up until 2028.
Mr Khan wrote in his letter that to deliver affordable homes at a scale which meets both London’s need and collective ambitions, the capital would require significantly more investment from the government.
London has been given £4.8bn under the current Affordable Homes Programme, which runs from 2016 to 2021.
In the year ending 31 March 2020, 17,256 affordable homes were delivered in London, the highest number of affordable homes started since the Greater London Authority began counting in 2003. It also included 7,156 social rent homes, an increase of 80% on the previous year.
In the letter, Mr Khan points to research carried out last year by the Greater London Authority and the G15, the body that represents London’s 12 biggest housing associations, which found that £4.9bn was needed each year for the next decade to provide the number of affordable homes to meet the city needs.
The mayor also pointed to evidence that shows an “overwhelming need” social rent homes and called for funding of this tenure to be the focus of the next programme.
Mr Khan wrote: “Around 17 of every 1,000 people in London is homeless and living in temporary accommodation, compared to just 1.5 per 1,000 in the rest of England.
“The need for low-cost rented homes is set in detail in London’s Strategic Housing Assessment [….] it is only right the next AHPS reflects this.”
Mr Khan also stated that the need for this tenure of housing will only grow after the COVID-19 pandemic and said investment in affordable housing would “create jobs, safeguard the housing sector during market upheaval and address London’s housing need”.
He added: “In recognition of the scale of housing need in the capital and the need to provide certainty for our housing delivery partners as they plan for recovery, I will ask my officials to urgently commence discussions with your team to ensure that Londoners are able to access the affordable, high-quality homes that they deserve.
“I look forward to hearing from you to and welcome opportunities for further discussion.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Building the homes this country needs is central to the mission of this government and is an important part of the action we are taking to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.
“Since 2010, we have delivered over 486,600 new affordable homes – including over 105,400 in London.
“Over the next five years Government will invest £12bn in affordable housing, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade delivering up to 180,000 new affordable homes.”
Update: at 15.23pm 30/07/20 a comment from MHCLG was added to the story.