London Mayor Sadiq Khan has accused his predecessor of “leaving the cupboard bare” when it comes to delivering affordable housing in the city.
A week after he officially succeeded Boris Johnson at City Hall, Mr Khan said the former mayor had “grossly let down Londoners” by failing to ensure a reliable supply of affordable homes.
With the capital’s population booming and private sector rents soaring, there are growing concerns that many Londoners will be priced out of the increasingly crowded capital as demand for housing outstrips supply.
All candidates in this month’s mayoral election promised to boost supply, with Mr Khan also pledging measures to help those on low incomes such as support for a “living rent” and introducing a target for 50% of all new homes built to be affordable.
Today Mr Khan’s office claimed that an audit had revealed that Mr Johnson delivered just 4,880 affordable homes last year, “the lowest number of new affordable homes since current records began back in 1991”.
City Hall also claimed the former mayor had “left a legacy of just 13 per cent affordable homes coming forward through planning permissions granted under his watch.”
Mayor Khan has pledged to “personally get to grips” with tackling London’s housing shortage and recommitted himself to demanding “far higher levels of affordable housing in new developments.”
Commenting on his predecessor’s record, Khan said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
However a spokesman for Mr Johnson hit back, claiming the “new mayor isn’t coming clean on his housing numbers”.
They commented: “He fails to mention 100,000 affordable homes were completed between 2008/2016 – a record.
“He also knows that last year’s completions were low for a reason – the start of a new government investment round – yet he fails to mention that the previous year saw a record 18,000 affordable homes completed – more than any point since 1981.”
Mr Johnson’s office also said despite Mr Khan’s references to an “audit”, “this data is already public and was published on the GLA website under the last Mayor.”
“Mr Khan also knows that the GLA released all of its surplus land under Boris Johnson – that’s 414 hectares which will deliver about 50,000 homes – a legacy which will greatly benefit this Mayor’s housing numbers, if only he’d bothered to check.”