Mayor unveils cash package for homes

Almost £2 billion will be invested in London housing by the Homes and Communities Agency as part of capital mayor Boris Johnson's housing strategy.

His £5 billion package was well received by housing professionals as the mayor outlined plans to acquire unsold market homes for affordable housing and bring forward public sector land for new development last week.

Johnson confirmed that he is sticking to his target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2011. A three-month consultation on the strategy will start in the spring.

British Property Federation director for residential policy Ian Fletcher said: "Some will scoff at the mayor sticking to the homes target in the current economic climate. It will be challenging, but the alternative does not bear contemplating."

Savills affordable housing director James Brown called the strategy an excellent start but said more radical action is also needed. "The mayor is bringing the private and public sectors together and there is a genuine desire to co-operate."

Leader of the London Assembly's Liberal Democrat group Mike Tuffrey insisted that the 50,000 target must be met. "That depends on all the London boroughs working hard to see that these homes are built. If they do not, the mayor must use his full powers," he maintained.

London Councils responded to the strategy's publication by calling on the government to provide £350 million to set up a Homes for London agency to help build 4,000 homes for rent.


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