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Affordable Housing in London – Progress Report

Today, the London Assembly Housing Committee has published its annual ‘Affordable Housing Monitor’. The report this year tracks how the Mayor is delivering affordable homes in London despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Key data in the report include:

  • London needs 66,000 new homes each year [1]. 43,000 of those need to be affordable.
  • However, a new London Plan was formally published by the Mayor in March 2021, setting a housing target of approximately 52,000 homes per year over ten years.
  • In 2020-21 the Mayor started 13,318 affordable homes, exceeding the minimum target of 10,300 for the year, in comparison to 17,256 starts in 2019-20 when the target was 17,000-23,000. This target for 2020-21 reflects the challenges in the housebuilding sector as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 9,051 affordable homes were completed in 2020-21 made up of the following tenures: Intermediate – 4,648 (51 per cent), Affordable Rent – 2,167 (24 per cent), Social Rent/London Affordable Rent – 2,208 (24 per cent), Affordable Tenure, type TBC – 28 (0.3 per cent)
  • In London, 8.3 per cent of households are overcrowded. Around 35 per cent of children in social housing and 27 per cent of those in private rented housing live in overcrowded conditions.[2}

The Committee has made a number of key recommendations:

  • The Mayor should work with partners to improve reporting on the number of bedrooms in homes delivered under the AHP, ensuring that all homes are accounted for in the published data.
  • The Greater London Authority (GLA) should publish comprehensive information on relative losses and gains of all affordable housing in London, including affordable housing not funded by the Mayor.
  • The GLA’s home starts and completions data should clearly differentiate about what is being delivered under each AHP (2016-23 or 2021-26).
  • The Mayor should work to improve data on overcrowding pressures in London, and publish quarterly updates on how much funding has been allocated under each AHP, broken down by tenure and the number of bedrooms in each home.
  • The Mayor should collate and publish data on the number of existing and planned homes specifically earmarked for key workers.

Sian Berry, chair of the housing committee, said: “Since 2020 the Mayor’s affordable homes programme has continued to meet the minimum targets, which is good news in the light of the pandemic and current challenges within the housebuilding industry. However, the delivery of social housing in particular remains far below the needs of Londoners. Too many people still live in overcrowded homes, and it is clear that the Mayor’s team are not gathering the information they need to tell us what they are achieving for families who need more space. The Mayor, the Government and housing sector must work together to provide the homes Londoners need. We look forward to questioning the deputy mayor for housing and other guests today on how they will step up their efforts to solve the housing crisis.”

The Mayor has two Affordable Homes Programmes giving grants to councils and housing associations for new homes – £4.8 billion for homes started from 2016-23 and a further £4.0 billion for the period from 2021-26.

Under these programmes he has committed to starting 116,000 new affordable homes by 2023 and a further 35,000 by 2026. Since 2015, 72,278 homes have been started towards this target (62 per cent), of which 65,089 have been started this Mayoral term (2016-21).

The Committee will scrutinise the findings in the monitor with the Mayor’s team and discuss the impact of the pandemic on building affordable homes, and how fire safety costs are affecting the delivery of homes by councils and housing associations.

The guests are:

  • Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, Greater London Authority (GLA)
  • Lucy Grove, Head of External Affairs, National Housing Federation
  • Richard Hill, Vice-Chair of the G15 and Chief Executive of One Housing
  • Darren Levy, Director of Housing, London Borough of Newham
  • Kate Webb, Head of Housing Strategy, GLA