Council Housing Build targets

I was quite surprised by the press release of Sadiq Khan today that states that he has hit the Council Housing targets that he previously set. See press release here.

The document provided some official government statistics that do not neccessary tell the same story…

We can’t speak for the totallity of London but will look at Brent, a story we have been following for a while. Here is our earlier post.

In 2018 Brent started what they called the “New Council Homes Programme” that aimed to deliver between April 2019 and April 2024, 1000 New Council Homes and 4000 affordable homes via accredited RP’s or housing assocations.

The official data for 2022/2023 is not yet avalable so we can only look at the official reports for housing completions between April 2019 and April 2022.

What is rather puzzling in the data is that there seems to be a lot of housing that started but doesn’t seem to ever complete. Probably why the press release is based on construction starts and not completions.

The data is taken from this table.

The table reports different tenures: a definition of the tenures can be found here.

Social Rent
London Affordable Rent
Affordable Rent
Intermediate Rent
Shared Ownership
Affordable Home Ownership
First Homes

The only types of tenure that are accessible to households on the housing waiting list are “Social Rent” and “London Affordable rent”.

“Affordable rents and intermediate rents” are set at maximum 80% of private rent levels, which most people cannot afford.

So what has been completed between April 2019 and April 2022 in Brent by Brent Council?

  • Social Rent units- 0
  • London affordable rent units – 243 ( most of them replacement units as 209 units at Gloucester and Durham were destroyed to create 235 units in Unity Place)
  • Affordable Rent units- 254
  • TOTAL = 497 units of which 209 are replacement units. A much lower number than the 1000 units promised in 2018!

You might say, that they still have 2 years to complete another 500 units but will they? …and more importantly why are they building “Affordable Rent units” rather than “Social Rent” or “London Affordable Rent” units, the only tenures that are financially accessible to people on the housing waiting list?

What has been completed between April 2019 and April 2002 in Brent by other affordable housing providers?

  • Social Rent units- 0 (0% of total provision)
  • London Affordable rent units- 292 (25% of total provision)
  • Affordable rent units – 346 (30% of total provision)
  • Intermediate Rent units- 79 (7% of total provision)
  • shared ownership -457 (39% of total provision)
  • Total units-1174

Remember the target of 4000 affordable units to be provided by affordable housing providers? 1174 is a far cry from the 4000 units target. Doubt very much that 2826 affordable homes will be completed between April 2022 and April 2024. What is extremely disappointing is that only 25% of the “affordable homes” completed so far are within the reach of people on the housing waiting list.


Do not believe all the statements made without digging into the data. A lot of affordable housing starts reported have not materialised into completed housing, so ask how many units have been completed rather than started.

The Council Housing term used in the report is highly misleading as it includes tenures that are not affordable to households on the Council Housing waiting list, so ask how many housing units have been delivered at Social rent or London Affordable rent levels.

This is just a bit of a corner of London, so imagine what is happening London wide!