London mayor announces biggest ever social house building program

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-23 20:45:48|Editor: mmm
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LONDON, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced Tuesday the biggest ever building program that will see more than 11,000 affordable social homes built in the British capital.

The program, costing nearly 1.4 billion U.S. dollars, will be City Hall's first-ever imitative dedicated to homebuilding by local councils across London with rents fixed at lower social rent levels.

Announcing the four-year plan, Khan said the national government needs to do far more to fix the housing crisis across Britain.

Khan has agreed allocations for 11,154 new council homes at social rent levels across London and a further 3,570 other homes, including those for London Living Rent.

So-called council houses once saw town and city councils building homes for low rents, aimed mainly at working class families.

According to City Hall, council homebuilding fell to nearly zero in the 1990s with the ambitions of many councils held back by a lack of resources and rigid limits on their powers and borrowing.

To help councils in London boost their homebuilding plans, Khan is offering councils more funding to kick start a building revolution in the capital.

Today's plans will see councils in London increase their building rates over the next four years to a total estimated at five times greater than over the previous four years.

Khan, said: "London's housing crisis is hugely complex and has been decades in the making. There is no simple fix, but council housing is the most important part of the solution."

Khan said a government decision to allow councils to borrow for house building programs does not go far enough.

He said: "We need at least four times the amount of money we currently get from the government for new social and affordable homes, and we need far greater powers to step in and buy land for new council housing."

The City Hall report cites the housing crisis in areas like the London Borough of Newham where the council has 27,000 families on its housing waiting list.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: "This funding will kick-start our ambitious housing program which will see the construction of more than 1,000 quality homes across 40 sites in Newham."

According to Fiaz, Newham residents are at the forefront of the housing crisis. "Too many families are desperately in need of a sustainable home they can genuinely afford. We have over 27,000 households on our housing waiting list and more than 4,800 households in temporary accommodation."