• Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Sadiq Khan pledges 40,000 council homes if re-elected

While polls suggest that Sadiq Khan is ahead of his Tory rival Susan Hall, the mayor observed it will be the “closest ever” contest

(File photo)Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, lights up the lights in central London to celebrate the start of Ramadan, Britain, March 7, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska

By: Shajil Kumar

London mayor Sadiq Khan launched the campaign for his third term on Monday by pledging to double his council homes target to 40,000 in six years to ease London’s housing woes, according to media reports

Khan had earlier set himself a target of 23,000 homes between 2018 and 2024 which was achieved last year.

At an event in London on Monday, Khan was accompanied by Labour leader Keir Starmer who said the electorate faces two choices – “chaos and division with the Tories, or unity and hope with Labour”.

“As Mayor, I’m under no illusion about the scale of the challenge,” Khan said at his campaign launch.

In London, more than 300,000 households are on the waiting list for social housing and rough sleeping has increased by 50% in the last decade.

Khan claimed if the Tory government were not holding them back, he could have gone “much further, much faster”.

He had recently unveiled a £100 million Housing Kickstart Fund that will provide grants to housing firms to convert market-rate homes stalled due to economic downturn into affordable homes.

While polls suggest that Khan is way ahead of his Tory rival Susan Hall, the mayor observed it will be the “closest ever” contest.

Hall contested Khan’s claim on housing and said he was “pledging a target that mostly consists of existing homes or those already started”.

She said Londoners were facing soaring rents because not enough new homes were being built.

Khan also defended his ultra-low emission zone for London under which motorists must pay £12.50 a day to drive a non-compliant car.

He said the plan faced a lot of opposition when it was initially rolled out in central London.

But it was later introduced in other parts of London, and now 19 out of 20 cars on average are compliant, he added.

Khan observed that it would be in London’s interest for City Hall and Downing Street to be run by Labour.

If he gets re-elected on May 2, Khan would be the first person to achieve three terms as mayor.

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