London needs to build 66,000 new houses every year to meet demand: mayor

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Britain’s capital city needs to build 66,000 new homes every year to meet growing demand, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Friday.

The goal would mean new houses being built in London at the rate of more than 180 every day.

In a statement from City Hall, Khan urged the government to boost funding for housing in its budget on Nov. 22, to give new powers to London and enable thousands of affordable homes to be built.

The mayor has called for the devolution of new powers to London over public land and allowing local councils in the capital to borrow to invest in homes, saying funding for affordable housing alone in London needs to rise to 3.6 billion U.S. dollars a year, more than five times the current spending levels.

With the private sector alone unable to build the thousands of new homes needed, Khan warned that it served as a stark warning that London’s housing crisis would spiral even further out of control without action and a new program of government investment.

A draft London housing plan, due to be published next month, will include strong new measures and set ambitious targets for every London borough to move towards a goal that will double the current rate of home building, with a strategic target for half of new homes to be genuinely affordable housing.

Khan said: “The housing crisis is a major factor in the high cost of living in the capital, as well as putting home ownership out of the reach of many young Londoners who fear they will never get a foot on the property ladder. In the worst cases, it can affect social cohesion, cause poor health, and plunge residents into poverty.”

Khan said many London boroughs, housing associations, home builders, and others in London were ready to step up to help tackle the housing crisis.

He added: “We simply can’t do it on our own. It’s time for the Prime Minister (Theresa May) to match her words with action and use the budget to commit to the profound increase in investment and powers London needs to tackle this crisis.”

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