The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has accused ministers of being hypocrites after they appeared to cave in to lobbying efforts by blocking or threatening three housing schemes in the capital.
In the space of a week, the Government has:
- Threatened to block the Mayor’s approval of the Newcombe House redevelopment at Notting Hill Gate, where Sadiq had ‘taken over’ the plans and doubled the level of social and affordable housing (29 November)
- Blocked the Mayor’s decision to approve the redevelopment of the Purley Baptist Church and Hall in Croydon, which would have included 220 new homes (3 December)
- Threatened to block the Mayor from ‘taking over’ plans to redevelop the Kensington Forum hotel, refused by the local council, that would have included social housing
Sadiq believes that Government’s decisions to intervene over these three schemes amount to ‘bare-faced hypocrisy’ – coming in the wake of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, acknowledging earlier this year that ‘housing will continue to remain out of reach of millions of hard-working Londoners unless we see a step-change in housing delivery’.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“By blocking these three schemes, this Government appears to have bowed to lobbying in what can only been seen as a case of hypocrisy.
“Londoners cannot take this Government seriously when the Secretary of State for Housing goes out of his way to stop new homes – including social housing – being built in the capital.
“Instead of giving in to lobbying, Ministers need to show they are serious about supporting me in building the new social rented and other genuinely affordable homes Londoners need.
“Particularly with the two applications in Kensington and Chelsea, and in light of the chronic shortage of affordable homes seen after the terrible Grenfell Tower fire, this intervention by the Minister is unhelpful and unnecessary”
Last year, Sadiq started more homes at social rent levels, and more genuinely affordable homes overall, than in any year since devolution to London.
There were 12,555 starts of genuinely affordable homes in 2017/18. This is the highest level of affordable starts since responsibility for affordable housing funding was devolved to the Mayor of London.
Included within these affordable home starts were 2,811 homes based on social rent levels, after there were no homes at all at such levels in the final year of the previous Mayor’s programme.
This autumn, Sadiq agreed plans worth more than £1 billion with 26 London boroughs to build 14,000 new council homes over the next four years including 11,000 at social rent levels as part of ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’ – the first-ever City Hall programme dedicated to council homebuilding.