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Havering Council failing to meet low-cost home targets

PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 October 2013

Havering Council built the lowest proportion of affordable houses of all the London boroughs in its target for 2010 to 2012, new research shows.

The London Poverty Profile 2013, created by the independent think tank New Policy Institute and charity Trust For London, reveals that Havering built 123 –about 16 per cent – of its target 776.

But the council says the figures do not “paint the full picture” and, between 2008 and 2011, it exceeded its target of 800 affordable homes, building – but also converting – 910. In 2011-12, it provided an additional 455 affordable homes, along with another 487 last year.

Havering’s housing boss Cllr Lesley Kelly said: “Providing more affordable local homes for people remains one of our key aims and we have a very good track record of doing so.”

On Wednesday, the cabinet agreed to council funding of almost £5.5m to supplement more than £2m from the Greater London Authority for new affordable housing developments. However, it has yet to be approved by full council.

London boroughs have targets for the number of homes they should build in a year as stated in the London Plan of 2011 – 40 per cent of which should be affordable homes.

Havering has a target of 970 per year.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said: “We simply are not building as much as we signed up to and, locally, people are really struggling.”

Research from the same report also showed that almost six per cent of working age people were unemployed in Havering. This is a slight increase on the 2007 to 2009 figures but still below the London average.

Heaton and Gooshays wards both had a child poverty rate of 30 per cent “before housing costs” but there were low levels of overcrowded houses and infant mortality across the borough.

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