Dear Ian,

I hope you are well.

I am writing in regards to the Mayor of London’s use of housing statistics and the possibility that these figures are materially misleading to the general public.

The Mayor has routinely claimed that he has “delivered” 25,000 affordable homes “in the last year alone”. Adverts across Transport for London’s estate, authorised by the Mayor of London, proudly suggests the capital is in a “golden era” of homebuilding.

The Greater London Authority’s own figures for 2023/24, however, show that the number of affordable home starts dropped to 3244 – the lowest level since records began in 2008. This represented an 88 percent drop compared to 2022/23, when 27,824 affordable homes were started – not completed.

We would, therefore, question whether the Mayor’s claim that 25,000 homes have been “delivered” in the “last year alone” is materially misleading. Even if referring to figures from 2022/23, an individual cannot live in a ‘start’ and a home has not been ‘delivered’ if it is still being built. In some circumstances, a ‘start’ may be counted before a single brick has been laid.

We believe this, combined with such a sharp drop in the number of new affordable homes in London actually completed, makes the Mayor’s claim that we are in a “golden era” of housebuilding highly disingenuous.

Given the real need to build more genuinely affordable homes and give Londoners the best possible chance of getting on the housing ladder, we believe the Mayor’s presentation of the figures in this way is unhelpful at best, and fundamentally misleading to the public at worst.

We would welcome your comments on whether the presentation of housing statistics in this way, including in publicly funded advertisements, could be considered as misleading.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
Lord Bailey of Paddington AM
Londonwide Assembly Member


Related links

Letter from Sir Robert Chote to Lord Bailey of Paddington AM – housing statistics