The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has agreed a new deal with government to fund thousands of council and other genuinely affordable homes for Londoners over the next five years in the first round of bidding for his new 2021-26 affordable homes programme.
The latest deal will release £3.46bn for 29,456 homes in the first round of bidding for a new five-year affordable homes programme. The mayor’s new programme – running alongside the extended 2016-23 programme – will see 79,000 new homes started over the next five years.
Khan has spearheaded a renaissance in council homebuilding, with more new council homes started in 2019/20 than in any year since 1983. This bidding round cements the council housing comeback in London, with more than four in ten of the homes being built by councils, totalling 12,024 homes. More than half of the social rented homes will be built by councils.
In total, almost six in ten of the homes (16,739 homes) funded by the first round of this affordable homes programme will be made available at the cheapest social rent. The remainder will be for shared ownership and London Living Rent which can help Londoners on average incomes move into homeownership.
This will be the mayor’s second affordable homes programme. He has hit every one of the delivery targets in the current Homes for Londoners: Affordable Homes Programme 2016-2023, with more than more than 72,550 genuinely affordable homes started to date.
The Mayor has also set ambitious targets for London to be a zero-carbon city by 2030 and expects homes built with the funding announced today to be environmentally sustainable. New standards introduced in the Mayor’s New London Plan include requirements for all developments of ten or more homes to be net zero-carbon and to incorporate sustainable urban green spaces.
Housing providers building homes funded by the new AHP will also have to meet new conditions on building safety and design, these include:
1. The installation of sprinklers or other fire suppression systems in new blocks of flats
2. A ban on combustible materials being used in external walls for all residential development, regardless of height
3. Minimum floor-to-ceiling heights and a requirement for private outdoor space
4. A ‘sunlight clause’ requiring all homes with three or more bedrooms to be dual aspect, any single aspect one- or two-bedroom homes to not be north-facing and at least one room to have direct sunlight for at least part of the day
Providers must also live up to new equality, diversity and inclusion standards, with training for all employees, a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and a commitment to recruiting from diverse and under-represented groups. In addition, they will also be expected to publish details of their gender and ethnicity pay gaps.
Khan commented: “I am delighted that we have been able to come to a deal with the government to get started on nearly 30,000 genuinely affordable homes. Over the last five years I have overseen a council homes renaissance in London thanks to our relentless focus on giving boroughs the funding and expertise they need to build. I’m pleased to see this is now paying off with more than half the homes being funded at social rent levels in this deal being built by councils.
“All Londoners deserve a safe, secure home with enough space to live comfortably, and private outside space to enjoy fresh air. I want to deliver a new generation of genuinely affordable housing in London that sets the standard nationally when it comes to excellent design, safety and sustainability.
“Today’s funding is good news but I know we can still go further, faster, working with ministers, housing associations and councils to deliver more of the homes Londoners so desperately need.”