By Daniel Hunter
The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has reiterated his call for urgent action to help meet the increasing demand for housing in the capital as he announced details of a £137 million fund to kick-start delivery of the next phase of affordable homes to rent and buy in the capital.
The funding, which will deliver over 6,000 affordable homes and secure up to 12,500 jobs, has been allocated to 56 housing providers who will all begin work in this Mayoral term. Building up this future pipeline of affordable housing is essential to maintaining the capital's economic competitiveness.
With a rapidly increasing population it is predicted that at least 40,000 additional homes need to be built every year in London by the 2030s. Without these homes Londoners who work in the city will find it increasingly difficult to be able to afford to live here. The Mayor is calling on the Government to look again at granting the capital a continuous, reliable funding stream for housing enabling him to get the best deal for Londoners, negotiate longer-term agreements with developers, and secure the housing the capital needs to continue to thrive and grow.
These were the recommendations of the London Finance Commission report earlier this year. The funding announced today is the next phase of the Mayor's Housing Covenant, his pledge to help those who contribute to London's economy to live in the city, and is in addition to his plans to deliver 55,000 affordable homes, which remain firmly on track.
Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: “'London needs secure, reliable funding now to build the homes of tomorrow. Over the last five years we have delivered record numbers of affordable homes, bought thousands of empty homes back into use and helped tens of thousands of Londoners on to the property ladder with part-buy, part-rent schemes.
"However our funding stream is full of stops and starts making it challenging to plan ahead and get on with delivering the thousands of homes we need every year after that to accommodate London’s growing population. With fair and continuous funding from the government, based on the vast sums raised through stamp duty on London’s higher value homes, we can meet this need - at no cost to the Treasury - and go on to maintain London’s position as the greatest city on earth.”
Schemes, like the one at Bexley, are on track to help over 50,000 Londoners to buy their own home by 2016, helping to reduce the pressure on London’s overburdened rental market, all funded through the Mayor's First Steps programme. The Mayor recently launched a new portal to help Londoners access all the information they need to buy or rent an affordable home including information about the Government's 'Help to Buy' fund which has allocated £500m to Londoners.
At the development the Mayor met new homeowner Damian Fichardo who moved in with his wife and two young daughters last year. Without the help of the Mayor’s First Steps scheme Damian, who works at Victoria Coach Station, and his family would never have been able to move out of their rented accommodation and buy their own home.
Damian Fichardo, homeowner, said: “It's every parents dream to secure a better future for their children. In the past I felt as if I was pouring money down the drain when I was in rented accommodation. I tried to get on the property ladder but didn't have enough deposit. Thanks to the Mayor's First Steps scheme I now own a wonderful apartment here in Bexley. We live close to my daughters school and near the train station and with Crossrail on the horizon will be even better connected to London."
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