London authorities miss target for affordable housing

11 March 2015, Blog

An analysis of statistics by the Financial Times has discovered that London councils are missing their own targets for new affordable housing. A mere 20 per cent of the 23,000 homes being built on the 61 sites started since March 2014 are affordable; well below the average target of 35-50% set by the local authorities in London.

Many developers claim that the community infrastructure levy, a flat-rate tax that the local authority charges on new developments in their area, is to blame for the shortfall. With the additional charge, there is less money in the pot for affordable homes.

However London’s deputy mayor Sir Edward Lister has disputed that the levy is responsible for the deficit. He has argued that getting developers to contribute to infrastructure projects in this way “[sparks] massive regeneration and [stimulates] large-scale investment in commercial activities, retail and housing”.

Those in favour of prioritising infrastructure over affordable housing will be looking to Battersea Power station as an example of how this choice can be beneficial for housebuilding. The development company for the power station insist that their contribution of more than £200m to the Northern Line extension has “triggered a wave of new housebuilding” in the area.

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