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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Homes for Londoners

11/10/2016


In May 1.3 million Londoners elected Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London. Jamie Ratcliff, assistant director responsible for housing at the Greater London Authority, sets out the progress to date in the Mayor’s first priority: tackling London’s housing crisis.

Image of people by houseI’ve experienced a huge amount of change, both at home and at work, in the last five months. Shortly after our Mayor was elected with the largest personal electoral mandate in British history, my wife gave birth to a beautiful boy - my first son.

My son’s first smiles, giggles and attempts at rolling over are bringing much joy to his parents and proud sister but I suspect CIH members are more interested in my experiences with our new Mayor and his housing team.

I’d previously worked with James Murray, the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, on a research project for the New Local Government Network, and had been impressed by his insight, knowledge and passion for improving the lives of society’s most vulnerable households. He has brought this to bear strongly on his new role, alongside a voracious appetite for learning, briefing and a positive focus on making things happen.

The Mayor has a long-term strategic aim for half of all homes delivered to be genuinely affordable. Some of this will be delivered through planning obligations and it will be topped up through other funding, public land and sites controlled by housing associations. Given the starting position, with affordable housing making up just 12.8 per cent of homes granted planning permission in 2014/15 it is clear that achievement of this aim will be a marathon and not a sprint.

Public land will play an important part in increasing housing supply and Transport for London’s first site has already been brought forward, expected to deliver 400 homes, half of which will be affordable.

We’ve published information on a new intermediate option to support working households into home ownership: London Living Rent. Rents will be set at a third of local household incomes and it will be part-funded through Mayoral investment and planning obligations.

We cannot solve London’s housing crisis alone at City Hall and the new Homes for Londoners board brings together a range of experts from London boroughs, the private sector and housing associations to monitor progress and build alliances. The Mayor will personally oversee this work.

We are also working closely with local and national government to increase housing supply, obtain a fair share for London of national resources, lobby for formal powers to give the Mayor a role in improving conditions in the private rented sector and do what we can to help reduce the pressure on boroughs for temporary accommodation for homeless households.

I’m looking forward to expanding on the Mayor’s priorities and debating a variety of new and different ideas in a CIH senior executive briefing on Homes for Londoners on Thursday 27 October. The positivity of the new mayoralty is flowing through City Hall and I’m pleased to report that my son is giving me many more sleepless nights than the Mayor. Long may that continue. 

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