London

Zac Goldsmith pledges to double house-building in London

Zac Goldsmith
Image caption Zac Goldsmith launched his plan for London in Croydon

The Conservative candidate for London mayor has vowed to double house-building in the capital, pledging to ensure homes are built at a rate of 50,000 a year by 2020.

There were 21,350 new houses built in the year to September 2015.

Launching his campaign, Zac Goldsmith said only he would be "able to secure the funds and powers needed from this government".

Labour candidate Sadiq Khan has pledged a minimum of 80,000 new homes a year.

Mr Goldsmith said he would oversee the start of the Night Tube project, bring suburban rail services under mayoral control and pledged to protect the green belt.

He said: "We can take London's success and make it work for everyone who lives and works here, but that can only happen with a strong and independent-minded mayor who is able to secure the funds and powers needed from this government."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Zac Goldsmith is emphasising his ability to influence the government

He said he would reserve "a significant proportion" of new homes for rent and not for sale.

But Seema Malhotra, Labour MP for Feltham and Heston, called his plan "lightweight...which doesn't even mention business, affordable housing, the soaring cost of transport, low pay, or health."

"This plan is not even worth the paper it is written on," she said.

Mr Khan has already proposed some similar ideas, including giving "first dibs" to local tenants.

Mr Goldsmith claimed he would be able to pay for his plans without increasing the rate of council tax set by the mayor - something Boris Johnson has seen as central to his mayoralty.

The supply of London housing has been one of the most contentious areas of policy associated with City Hall.

Mr Khan has accused Mr Johnson of "failing to invest £400m of his affordable homes budget", but Mr Johnson insisted in a speech last week he had overseen "the biggest home-building programme since 1981".

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