Construction News

Thu June 17 2021

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New London mayor blames Boris over housing and apprentice shortfalls

17 May 16 London’s new mayor of London Sadiq Khan has accused his predecessor of letting down Londoners and “leaving the cupboard bare” when it comes to delivering affordable housing in the city.

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan

Khan also blames Boris Johnson for a construction skills crisis. He said that annual construction apprenticeship starts in London average just 7% cent of the national total and that a total of 100,000 planned apprenticeships starts were missed during the previous mayor’s second term.

Immediately after taking over from Boris Johnson last week, Khan asked officials to produce an urgent audit of City Hall’s preparedness to tackle the housing crisis. Khan said that the audit revealed affordable home delivery at near-standstill. Last year, the previous mayor delivered the lowest number of new affordable homes since current records began back in 1991 – just 4,880 – and left a legacy of just 13% affordable homes coming forward through planning permissions granted under his watch, according to Khan.

Khan found a flawed process for identifying public land for homes. The previous mayor’s work to produce a digital ‘Doomsday Book’ of public land ncludes scores of sites that will never be built on, including 10 Downing Street, City Hall and the British Museum, found Khan’s audit.

Khan has pledged to build new homes on land owned by City Hall, including Transport for London land, and intends to fast-track scores of sites that are suitable for development. He wants to see 50% of all new homes in London being genuinely affordable, also plans to bid to develop other public sector land across London. He has said that he will work with Government ministers to ensure a far more active role for City Hall in identifying surplus public land that can be used for the construction of the new affordable housing London needs.

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He said: “London gave me the opportunity to go from the council estate where I grew up to being able to buy a family home we could afford. But today, too many Londoners are being priced out of our city. One of the first things we did when we got to City Hall was open the books and look at what was already in the pipeline and it seems the previous mayor has grossly let down Londoners by leaving the cupboard bare when it comes to delivering affordable housing.

“I am determined to fix London’s housing crisis and ensure that all Londoners have the opportunity to rent or buy a decent home at a price they can afford, but the scale of the challenge is now clearer than ever and we’re not going to be able to turn things around overnight.

“We will be outlining our plans in the coming months, but one of the first things we can do is work with Transport for London to fast-track their numerous surplus sites for development that have previously just been sat on.”


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