Spiralling cost of affordable homes

Buildings in Westminster, London

The cost of building affordable homes in London has tripled, according to the mayor’s office, which blamed Brexit and the cladding crisis for the failing. Affordable homes include social rented and affordable rented homes. The properties currently being built in London will be offered as social rented, shared ownership or ‘London living rent’ homes that let people save for a deposit before moving into home ownership.

The first round of homes constructed under the affordable homes programme in London between 2016-2023 was scheduled to deliver 116,000 new homes with a cost to the government of £4.8 billion, or £41,551 per property.

A second round overlaps the first round at a cost to the government of £4 billion. However, only a further 35,000 new homes are scheduled to be built in this programme between 2021-2026 and will equate to a cost of £114,000 per property.

As well as Brexit and cladding safety, the mayor’s office said there were other ‘significant’ increases in cost, including the availability of materials, shortage of skilled workers and currency devaluation.

To date, only 69,000 homes have begun construction or are already completed of the total scheduled 151,000 affordable homes.

The £8.8 billion of government money used to build affordable homes in London since 2016 comprises 37% of the funds allocated for the UK under the two programmes. New targets and fund allocations are agreed at the beginning of each new building programme.

A spokesman for the mayor said that central government funding for affordable housing in London was ‘woefully inadequate’. The mayor’s office says that £4.9 billion would be needed each year for ten years to be able to deliver the number of new homes required in the capital.

Meanwhile, a Conservative Housing spokesman for the Greater London Authority has accused Sadiq Khan of slowing down house building in London, which he described as ‘scandalous’. Andrew Boff said: “The mayor is failing Londoners by squandering this golden opportunity to deliver the homes our city desperately needs.”

Conservative mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, agreed saying: “London has a housing crisis; and just when we need to increase the number of affordable homes in the capital, Khan is reducing them. It’s a shocking indictment on his abysmal house building record.”

The Green Party’s Sian Berry said that the rate of house building in Greater London had been “too slow” and that they had been “pushing this mayor to go further on genuinely affordable housing”.