Council homebuilding in London last year higher than rest of the country combined

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has today hailed new Government statistics showing that work started on more council homes in London last year than in the rest of the country put together. 

A total of 5,494 council homes were started in the 2021/22 financial year, meanwhile 4,325 council homes were started in the rest of England.

Since becoming Mayor in 2016, Sadiq has increased the number of council homes being built in London every year from fewer than a thousand in 2015/16 to more than 5,000 in 2021/22. The proportion of new council homes being built in the capital has risen from a quarter to over half.

The capital has not seen council house building on this scale since the 1970s (9,128 starts in 1979). This turnaround in council building has been driven by landmark initiatives such as the Mayor’s landmark Building Council Homes for Londoners grant funding programme, and his Homebuilding Capacity Fund, which has supported boroughs to increase their ability to build after a generation of decline.

Last year, the London Borough of Southwark led the way with 895 starts. Twelve councils including Barking & Dagenham, Islington and Brent all achieved over 200 starts.

Under his new 2021-26 Affordable Homes Programme, the Mayor is also ensuring that new council homes built on his watch meet leading environmental standards to help tackle the climate emergency. All developments of 10 or more homes must be net zero-carbon and incorporate sustainable urban green spaces.

While today’s figures are good news, the Mayor is warning it is becoming more challenging than ever to match the record-breaking levels of new affordable housing under construction in the capital because of rising construction costs, a shortage of skilled construction workers, land costs due to competition from other uses, and increased financing costs due to the recent rise in interest rates.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “There’s no quick fix to London’s housing crisis, but we’re taking significant steps in the right direction by backing a new renaissance in council homebuilding.

“In London today, we’re not just building more council homes, we’re building better homes too. The new generation of council homes are some of the best that have ever been built: modern, sustainable and fit for the 21st century. These new homes form a key part of building a better London for everyone – one that is greener, fairer and more prosperous for all.

But the headwinds from recent economic chaos, combined with the effects of the pandemic, Brexit, the soaring cost of construction materials and rising inflation are hitting housebuilders hard and making housing delivery increasingly challenging. That’s why I am urging Ministers to provide additional funding so I can continue to deliver the good quality and genuinely affordable homes that Londoners desperately need.”