Experts predict budget cut will impact major project

The Mayor of London has cut the budget for Old Oak Common by 40 per cent – despite his claims of increased spending – putting the building of thousands of homes at risk.

The project, which will provide thousands of homes on industrial and waste land in west London, has been handed £6.9million by the Mayor in this year’s budget, along with a £2million contingency fund delivered if they meet certain targets.

The Mayor has tried to claim this as an increase in spending, comparing it to the original £5.5million approved in the previous Mayor’s last budget.

However, Sadiq Khan is ignoring a revised contribution which would provide an additional £6million a year for three years, approved in 2016.

That took the total budget to £11.4million over four years, making Sadiq Khan’s contributions fall £4.5million short.

Experts have already voiced their concern that such drastic cuts to funding could put some of the 11,000 homes ready for development at risk*.

London Assembly Member Andrew Boff said:

“The Mayor has attempted to disguise this cut by comparing his funding with old figures.

“His decision has serious implications for what is a vital project that will provide huge regeneration over a massive area of west London.

“I suspect the Mayor is not all together keen to further a project that would provide a legacy for his predecessor but by cutting the funding like this, he is playing politics with future homes and jobs in our city.”

– Andrew Boff is the GLA Conservatives’ housing spokesman.
– *From the London Assembly Housing Committee on 24th January, 2017 (1:24:26 to 1:25:56) The webcast can be viewed at https://www.london.gov.uk/housing-committee-2017-01-24.

The full verbatim transcript is as follows.

AB: Andrew Boff
MC: Mairear Carroll, National Housing Federation

[1:24:26] AB: There are some schemes, however, that come forward with grant funding. I’m thinking of the Old Oak Common development. And yet the Mayor is anticipating reducing the amount of funding to that development. Is that going to be a problem for the delivery of new housing if it’s so dependent upon grant?
[1:25:06] MC: I think it will present a challenge and I think we need to review the approach that’s been taken at Old Oak. There is a housing committee – kind of like a group – that’s making recommendations to the Mayor through the Old Oak process and I think we need to think about how that delivery of affordable homes will continue going forward. Housing associations who are involved in Old Oak are committed to delivering as many affordable homes as they possibly can. It’s going to come down a little bit to funding but also a little bit down to how that approach works long term.
[1:25:41] AB: £4.5 million that he’s going to be removing is going to have an impact surely. Is it going to have an impact on the number or quality of homes to be delivered there?
[1:25:48] MC: It definitely won’t have an impact on the quality. It could have a slight impact on the numbers. Housing associations will try to deliver as many as they possibly can.
[1:25:55] AB: Thank you very much.

– SEE ‘NET EXPENDITURE’ ROW. Table below is from page 46 of the document in the link: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/mayors_consultation_budget_2017-2018.pdf