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Mayor of London's housing strategy 'woefully inadequate'

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Mayor of London's housing strategy 'woefully inadequate'

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Mayor of London's housing strategy 'woefully inadequate' Mayor of London's housing strategy 'woefully inadequate'

The Mayor of London's new housing strategy has been branded "woefully inadequate" for failing to prioritse enough homes to meet the captial's needs.

The London Assembly will today question Boris Johnson on the strategy and vote on whether to reject it.

The mayor is currently delivering a third of what his own research says the city needs. Last year 21,000 homes were built in London, the mayor’s new target is 42,000 but his own research shows that we actually need 62,000 new homes each year. This is to match current demand and to cover the backlog that has built up over the past few years.

The lack of housing supply has led to a range of problems in London, including: average house prices nearing £500,000; private sector rents increasing 13% in the past year with increasingly poor conditions; and over 300,000 families in London stuck on council waiting lists for housing.

Tom Copley, housing spokesman for the London Assembly Labour Group, said: “Housing is now the biggest crisis facing London. Yet the mayor’s new housing strategy doesn’t propose the necessary bold action that Londoners need to solve it.

"Today I hope that all parties on the London Assembly vote against the mayor’s new housing strategy for London. It fails to tackle the crucial issue that is driving London’s housing crisis – the lack of homes being built. On Boris’ watch we’ve seen house building fall, including the building of much needed affordable homes.

"Vast swathes of London are becoming unaffordable, even for those on ‘good’ incomes.

“The mayor’s target of 42,000 homes a year is not enough, his own research shows we need 62,000 new homes each year to meet demand and make up lost ground.

"Unless these homes are built, then Londoners will continue to struggle with soaring house prices and private rents. The result will be London becoming ever more unaffordable for the people who work here and make our city the success that it is.

"Ultimately, London’s economic competitiveness will suffer as businesses move to cities with a lower cost of living.”

Speaking after the mayor's housing strategy was voted through, Conservative London Assembly Member, Andrew Boff, said: “The root of many of London’s housing problems is the longstanding problem of a lack of supply. The mayor’s strategy addresses this with a bold plan to build at least 42,000 high quality homes per year – double what has been achieved in the last 20 years.

"It includes, for the first time, targets for purpose-built homes to relieve pressure on London’s private renters. It provides for a huge expansion of low cost homes for first time buyers. And we will see funding for the much-needed larger family homes that we have consistently been calling for, as well as building new homes for downsizers – freeing up more family housing for where it is really needed.

“However, we must learn lessons from the 1960s and '70s and stop building affordable housing for families above the third floor. In the 21st century, in a highly developed city such as London, it is nothing short of a scandal that children are being rammed into these high rises.

"Tower blocks are concrete warehouses for families – they fail to create strong communities, lead to isolation and a poor standard of living. Families with kids need gardens and neighbours they can interact with.”

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