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Independent mayoral candidate Rory Stewart has today (12th February) promised London’s biggest affordable housing programme “in more than a generation” with 250,000 new homes built over the next five years.

Announcing the pillars of his housing policy, Stewart said if elected to lead City Hall in May he would immediately set up a ‘Mayor’s Building Company’ — run by “serious hard-hitters” in industry rather than politicians.

This would be handed thousands of acres of surplus Transport for London (TfL) land that could be used by private developers, housing associations and councils – introducing a “use it or lose it” policy to combat the prevalence of stalled sites across the city.

The former Tory MP has also slammed the current Mayor, Sadiq Khan, for “failing to build the houses London needs”.

As reported by 24housing, figures obtained by the London Assembly Tories show that by the end of last year just 12,294 of the 34,515 homes started since the Mayor came to power in May 2016 had been completed.

By contrast, Stewart has said that his Just Build It! plan will be driven by a focus on immediate housing delivery, and long-term investment on behalf of all Londoners.

He also plans to launch a review of “stalled” sites that have planning consent for up to 200,000 homes but where work has not made progress.

On his proposals, Stewart said: “For too long, politicians have taken a hands-off approach to building the homes London needs – throwing numbers and slogans around, but doing very little to make them a reality. There has been a great deal of talk, and very little action.

“As Mayor I would stop the sale of public land – on day one. Sadiq Khan is currently robbing future generations of Londoners, selling off the family silver to plug holes in his budget.

“Instead of unsustainable asset-stripping, I would use public land for public benefit – building affordable homes, and creating a permanent investment for the benefit of all Londoners.

“As Mayor, I won’t sit around waiting for private developers – I’ll set up a Mayor’s Building Company and build the homes London needs myself, gripping the problem in a way Sadiq Khan has not.”

He added: “I would put the interests of Londoners before anything else. Whether they’re looking to find their first flat, or having to move to start a family – or because they’re thinking about retirement – my message to all Londoners is: you deserve to live safe, dignified, well-designed homes and neighbourhoods, and If I’m elected Mayor I will make that aspiration a reality.”