Labour’s London Assembly Planning Spokesperson Nicky Gavron AM has accused Mayor Boris Johnson of “accepting defeat in the battle to tackle London’s housing crisis” after setting a target to build only 42,000 new homes per year. The target comes despite the Mayor’s own evidence showing that 62,000 per year are necessary to clear the backlog of need within ten years.
The house building targets were included in alterations to the Mayor’s controversial London Plan which were pushed through today despite the majority of London Assembly Members voting against the proposals. Ms Gavron said the Mayor’s “complete absence of ambition” would leave the capital stuck with an ever-deepening housing crisis. Particular concerns were raised that the affordable housing targets within the plan, for only 17,000 new affordable homes a year, would come nowhere near meeting London’s need.
Despite setting a target for 42,000 new homes each year, the Mayor recognised tens of thousands more were necessary to meet London’s growing housing need. Instead of including these in his target, the Mayor has said he expects Local Authorities to make up the difference but failed to give any strategic direction on how councils could achieve the 20,000 extra homes that are needed in addition to his targets each year.
The vote comes amid record figures showing the capital’s population has now reached 8.6m for the first time. Last week a new report from the Chartered Institute of Housing found that 76% Londoners now believe there is a housing crisis in their area.
Labour’s London Assembly Planning spokesperson Nicky Gavron AM said:
“By setting a house building target well below what his own evidence shows we need, the Mayor is accepting defeat in the battle to tackle London’s housing crisis. Boris Johnson’s complete absence of ambition will not only exacerbate the housing crisis but will also leave his successor with a plan which everyone knows is inadequate.
“We need creative and ambitious solutions if we are to effectively tackle the capital’s housing crisis. These proposals not only underestimate the need for new housing, they offer absolutely no new plans on how the Mayor proposes to increase the number of homes being built. We need to see genuinely affordable housing being prioritised not more stratospherically expensive luxury flats which most Londoners could never afford.
“Boris Johnson has had seven years now to come up with a plan to tackle London’s housing need, instead we’ve seen rocketing property prices and rental charges with demand consistently outstripping supply. This was the Mayor’s final opportunity to put in place a legacy which would leave London equipped to build its way out of this housing crisis. He has failed to do so and sadly it is Londoners who will continue to suffer the effects of the capital’s housing crisis as a result.”