The new London Mayor and his deputy have taken on the challenge around how they will increase the supply of ‘genuinely affordable’ homes from the last mayor, Boris Johnson. An impossible problem some might argue, the issue, as explained by James Murray, who is Sadiq Khan’s Deputy Mayor for Housing, is that setting targets is very difficult, as it is all wrapped up with the review of the London Plan. Murray continued to state that he couldn’t imagine setting an overall target of lower than the one inherited from Boris Johnson’s London Plan of 42,000 new homes per year. He also stated there was a long-term strategic goal of making 50% of all new homes built in London ‘genuinely affordable’.
In order to achieve this, Murray underlined three types of ‘affordable’ homes that really will be affordable. Along with social rent, shared ownership homes, which will be aimed at households on low to middle incomes, will continue to play a role. The third route is a new one, which will be designed for private sector renters. Entitled London’s living rent, these properties will be linked to average local earnings rather than local market rents and set at 30% of that average. This is considerably lower than most private renters currently endure.
Clearly, this whole topic of making more affordable homes in the most expensive location in the UK is a hard one to tackle. Whatever routes are agreed upon, surely a plan around the empty buildings across London and the boroughs should be included as part of the strategic blueprint. We understand that these buildings cannot be placed into the long-term home requirements, but what they do offer is ‘genuinely affordable’ living in a location that is too expensive for many to afford. Food for thought, at the very least.