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Boris Johnson to be challenged on affordable housing underspend

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Boris Johnson to be challenged on affordable housing underspend

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Local Government

Pickles hands London Mayor new powers in Localism Bill shake-up Pickles hands London Mayor new powers in Localism Bill shake-up

Mayor of London Boris Johnson will be challenged today on why he hasn't spent his full affordable housing budget.

Though the mayor committed to spending an earmarked £283 million in 2013-14 to support affordable housebuilding across the capital, it was revealed last week that he will only use £163m of it.

And members of the London have claimed that the way the mayor allocates the funding may actually be actively discouraging developers from building affordable housing.

The London Assembly Budget Committee has previously stated that: “The March 2015 deadline in the affordable homes programme may now be acting as a deterrent for developers to start new affordable housing projects. This is because failing to meet this deadline would make the project ineligible for payment from the GLA under this programme.”

Tom Copley, London Assembly Labour Group housing spokesperson, said: "There is a housing crisis across all tenures in London. House prices, rents and even affordable housing are becoming ever more unaffordable for Londoners even on modest incomes. The mayor isn't building enough homes, but now it looks like he will fail to spend £120m of his £283m affordable housing budget for this financial year. The way he is offering this funding looks like it is actually deterring developers from building affordable homes. This is completely absurd.

“It also looks like the mayor is shunting money away from building family-sized affordable homes which are desperately needed. On his watch the support for affordable housing from central government has dropped by 60%. Not only has he failed to get a good deal for London, but with the money he did get he has failed to spend a significant portion of it. This incompetence is adding to the shortage of housing in London. It’s time the mayor started acting like we’re in a housing crisis and got building.”

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