London housing: More government funding needed for affordable family-sized homes, says GLA chief

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Tom Copley, the deputy mayor for housing, said in order to build more family-sized homes, “we need to get more funding out of the government”.

The government needs to provide additional funding if London is to deliver the affordable family-sized homes it needs, a senior housing officer has said.

Earlier this year, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced he had surpassed the target set by government of starting 116,000 affordable homes.

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Delivered via the 2016-2023 Affordable Homes Programme (AHP), Mr Khan said upon meeting the target: “I’m proud to say: London is building again. In recent years, we’ve completed more homes of all types than at any time since the 1930s.

“While the government has shamefully scrapped its own home-building targets, we’re busy meeting ours. In London, not only have we hit our target of starting 116,000 new genuinely affordable homes, we’ve exceeded it.”

Sadiq Khan announced he had surpassed his affordable homes target in a speech at the Royal Eden Docks in Newham. Credit: Ben Lynch.Sadiq Khan announced he had surpassed his affordable homes target in a speech at the Royal Eden Docks in Newham. Credit: Ben Lynch.
Sadiq Khan announced he had surpassed his affordable homes target in a speech at the Royal Eden Docks in Newham. Credit: Ben Lynch. | Ben Lynch

The value of a ‘start’ versus a completion and whether a suitable range of housing is being delivered have both come under scrutiny since the announcement.

Discussing whether enough family-sized homes are being delivered in the capital, the deputy mayor for housing, Tom Copley, told the London Assembly housing committee the Greater London Authority (GLA) is limited in the number it can build by the funding it receives from central government.

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“We obviously want to be providing family-sized housing, and a diverse range of housing,” he told the chamber.

“The challenge of course is we have a limited pot of money, and there’s no premium which is placed by the government in terms of weighting funding towards homes with more bedrooms.

“The more funding the government makes available, the easier it is to provide family-sized housing.”

He said there is a particular incentive for boroughs to be building more family-sized homes, due to homelessness pressures forcing local authorities to place families in temporary accommodation such as hotels.

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Referencing the 116,000 starts specifically, Mr Copley said he believes three-bed-plus homes make up about 25% of that number, meaning “several tens of thousands” of such homes are being built.

However, he added: “If we want more family-sized housing, we need to get more funding out of the government.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUC) said: “We have given the Greater London Authority £4 billion to deliver affordable homes and we expect them to get on and build the homes London needs.

“Social housing providers should work with councils on what is needed in their local areas and ensure that the homes being built meet the needs of local communities.”

According to government data, Homes England and the GLA started more than 54,000 affordable homes in 2022/23, the most since records began in 2009/10.

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