By Daniel Hunter
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has launched a £100m fund as part of a new housing deal to help thousands of working Londoners, giving a huge boost to the construction industry and ensuring that London retains its competitiveness.
To help the capital maintain its economic vitality and to meet Londoners’ housing aspirations, the Mayor wants to assist the thousands of households on a range of modest incomes for whom the current housing market offers limited choice. Under the Mayor’s 'Housing Covenant’, the first part of which is being set out today, those who contribute to the success of the capital should expect a reasonable housing offer in return.
Bids are being invited for organisations to deliver proposals for a range of housing projects across London - including helping people to own a share in a new home - which could help to house 10,000 people who want to live in the city that they work in.
In line with the Mayor’s commitment to drive jobs and growth, the £100m investment he is making through his successful ‘First Steps’ programme has the potential to boost the London economy by £2 billion, spurred by around £1 billion worth of construction.
Using his new powers, which include responsibility for budgets and public land, the Mayor of London’s plans will:
- Assist Londoners by removing red tape, including planning restrictions, to provide greater choice and flexibility and boost the mid-market offer in the capital. The aim is to make the ‘intermediate’ market, which offers a range of low-cost home ownership products, give people the same freedoms and flexibility as those buying on the open market enjoy.
- Enable people to find the home they want and then choose from a flexible range of options including shared-ownership, equity loans and a new option - ‘Rent to Save’ - which will help households save for a deposit while benefitting from low rents. This will be alongside new funding for the already popular ‘FirstBuy’ scheme. At present Londoners are hampered by a system that offers only a single take it or leave it financial offer tied to a particular home.
- Make it easier to move the equity built up in one ‘intermediate’ home into another, remove constraints on re-sales of these properties, reduce restrictions on which Londoners are eligible for assistance and remove duplications and bureaucracy in the way these homes are marketed.
"London’s success is built by its workforce and if we are to maintain our vitality as a city we have to provide Londoners with a fairer housing deal," the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said.
"For an increasing number of Londoners the capital’s current housing market is just not working and failure to deal with the issue could lead to a damaging exodus that will hamper our competitiveness.
"So, in the long tradition of the great house building programmes of the past and of London's great philanthropists such as George Peabody, I want to make a new housing covenant with Londoners, one that recognises that those who contribute to our success should benefit from it too.
"To improve the housing choices of those who work to make this city the fantastic place that it is, I am opening up the market, cutting red-tape and injecting £100m worth of investment to stimulate supply. The programme we are announcing will not just unlock the door to home ownership for thousands more Londoners, it will give a welcome shot in the arm for jobs in the capital’s construction industry and spur wider economic growth too."
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