I grew up on a council estate in south London, so I know first-hand the importance of council housing for giving Londoners a stable and affordable home.
The truth is council home building has been written off and neglected by a generation of politicians. Since the 1980s, there’s been a deliberate attempt to prevent councils from building the new homes that families on ordinary incomes need.
In the time that I’ve been Mayor, I’ve been determined to do things differently and to kick-start a new resurgence of council house building in London, building thousands of modern, green, well-designed homes.
I’m proud to say that this ambition is bearing fruit. In my election manifesto, I promised to get London building council homes at scale again, starting work on at least 10,000 new homes.
Today, I can announce that we’ve comprehensively beaten that target, with nearly 11,000 council homes already being started. We’re ahead of schedule. It’s testament to the huge ambition of great London councils, like Enfield, where I visited today, who are building first-rate, quality new council homes.
It also shows the huge sea-change there’s been in the capital in recent years. By the end of my predecessor’s time as Mayor, council housing delivery had slowed to unacceptably low levels. Since I’ve been in office, building has grown at an unprecedented rate, with a six-fold increase in new council house building over the last five years, with more built last year than at any time since the 1970s.