Khan to review housing zone scheme to meet affordable housing target

London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, will review the capital’s housing zone scheme to try to increase the availability of affordable housing.

During a question time appearance before the London Assembly today (22 June), Khan, who was elected mayor last month, criticised his predecessor’s record on housing.

He said that an audit his staff had carried out had found that just 4,418 homes built and 13% of homes given planning permission last year were affordable.

Despite this, he praised the £400m housing zone scheme, launched by former mayor Boris Johnson and chancellor George Osborne, which has seen 31 housing zones introduced across London, with potential for 53,000 new homes.

“Where housing zones are working, and succeeding in unlocking housing supply, we will support them,” he said. “One of their strengths is they’re focused not just on supplying affordable housing, but also on acquiring land and infrastructure to support housing delivery.”

However, he said he would review the programme in order to address areas where concerns have been raised, including the length of time taken to begin delivery.

Khan said that his overall aim was to increase the amount of affordable homes per new development from 40% to 50%.

“I will support housing zones while they’re in place, and bring forward affordable homes while being clear about my priorities,” he said.

After repeated questioning by Conservative assembly member Andrew Boff, Khan said that the results of the review would be published “in the next few months”.

He also said in response to Boff’s questions that his definition of affordable housing was where the rent was equivalent to an average manual worker’s salary, for social housing, or to a third of average earnings for standard housing.

The lack of affordable housing is an issue of concern across the country, with four-fifths of councils saying the new Starter Homes do not meet their definition of affordable housing.

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