The Mayor of London has once again attacked the government’s plans to tackle the housing crisis in the capital, after it emerged a £2 billion pledge for affordable housing isn’t new money.
Sadiq Khan has been vociferous in his condemnation of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, which has pledged to build 300,000 new homes each year by the mid-2020s. However, Mr Khan labelled the statement as an ‘anti-London’ one because of what he perceives as a lack of help for affordable housing in a city that needs to build 66,000 each year to satisfy demand and shortages.
At the Conservative Party conference, Theresa May pledged a further £2 billion to go towards the fight to increase affordable housing in Britain, taking the total to £9 billion.
In the reading of the Autumn Budget, Philip Hammond said: “The Budget confirms the further £2 billion of funding for affordable housing announced in October, including funding for social rented homes.”
However, the analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) shows that, far from this being new money, the £2 billion pledged by the Prime Minister from October has been allocated from two other housing funds; the Accelerated Construction Fund and the Starter Homes Land Fund.
The analysis states: “The £2 billion of spending announced by the Prime Minister in October has been financed by reducing spending on ‘accelerated construction’ and ‘starter homes’ across the four years from 2017-18 to 2020-21.”
It has angered Mr Khan, who criticised what he called the government’s ‘abject failure’ in tackling London’s housing crisis, which it is calculated, needs five times more money allocated for its affordable housing needs.
The Mayor of London said that the Budget “exposes the government’s abject failure to tackle London’s housing crisis.
“They have failed to match their words with action – it turns out a key pledge from the Prime Minister on housing is just smoke and mirrors and not new money.
“The government’s current spending on affordable housing in London is still less than half of what it reached in 2010 and less than a fifth of what we really need.”