The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called on the Government to appoint a social housing tenant as a national Commissioner for Social Housing Residents.
The Commissioner would act as a watchdog for social housing policy and ensure the voices of those living in social housing are heard by national policymakers.
Sadiq first made the call for a commissioner in September 2017 in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, as part of his draft housing strategy. Following a public consultation on the strategy, the Mayor has listened to Londoners’ views and has further strengthened the proposal by insisting that the Commissioner themselves be a social housing tenant.
The Mayor is presenting his final strategy to the London Assembly today. Following a record number of more than 2,000 responses to the consultation, the updated strategy now:
- includes an additional £1.67 billion of affordable housing investment the Mayor secured from Government earlier this year – the majority of which will be spent on new homes based on social rent levels;
- confirms the Mayor’s plan to require resident ballots on estate regenerations; and
- commits to working with community-led housing organisations to identify schemes which could deliver at least 1,000 new homes by 2021.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“I grew up on a council estate, so I know just how important social housing is. I’m deeply concerned that social housing tenants’ voices are not being heard in the corridors of power and that’s why we need an independent Commissioner to stand up for social tenants. It is clear to me, and to many Londoners who contributed ideas to my strategy, that this person should themselves be someone who lives in social housing.”
“Today’s strategy sets out how we are doing everything within our power to build more social rented and other genuinely affordable homes, helping councils to build more homes themselves, and making sure that residents’ voices are heard. But it’s also clear there’s only so far we can go without Government stepping up – it is crucial they give councils and City Hall the resources and powers we need for a step change in the number of affordable homes we can build.”
Figures in April showed that 12,526 new genuinely affordable homes with Mayoral funding were started in 2017/18 – more than in any year since City Hall got responsibility for housing investment – and this time under the new, tougher definition of genuinely affordability introduced by Sadiq. This includes thousands of homes available for social rent – more than in the previous four years combined, and a dramatic turnaround from the programme Sadiq inherited that did not include a single home for social rent.
Earlier this month, the Mayor announced the first-ever City Hall programme dedicated to funding new council homes. The Building Council Homes for Londoners programme will support 10,000 new council homes in the next four years.
As part of his Homes for Londoners programme, the Mayor has also launched a new online housing hub, which helps Londoners find affordable homes, report rogue landlords and agents, and understand his plans on housing: www.london.gov.uk/building-a-london-for-everyone