Tower Hamlets Council’s massive fail in bid for GLA housing funds baffles everyone (including them)

In late October 2018 Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced the allocation of £1,000,000,000 of funding to London councils for the building of over 11,000 new council homes at social rent levels over the next four years across the capital.

The ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’ programme is the first City Hall programme dedicated to council homebuilding.

Tower Hamlets council has nearly 19,000 people on its housing waiting list. What this means in reality is that single men who apply are told that they have no chance of being allocated a council house in their lifetime as families and women with children are, quite rightly, given priority.

The only borough with a higher housing waiting list than Tower Hamlets is neighbouring Newham with 26,000 people.

Newham was awarded £107,476,000 by Sadiq Khan’s housing team with which Newham intend to build  1,123 new council homes at an average unit cost of £95,704.

Tower Hamlets was awarded £13,000,000 by the GLA. Our borough intends to build 675 new council homes at an average unit cost of £19,259.

Public housing supply and funding is a very technical and complex subject but expertise is not needed to see the headline figures of this puzzle. Here they are!

Newham with 26k people on its waiting list is awarded £107m to build 1,123 new homes,

Tower Hamlets with 19k people on its waiting list is awarded £13m to build 675 new homes

How does that make any sense?

That clear enough?

What has happened here? Does Mayor Sadiq Khan not like our borough? Doubtful.

Does our borough not need any financial help building new council homes? Let’s forget about the £180m it found under a mattress for the moment and assume it does.

And how does Tower Hamlets council think it can build new council homes for only £19,259 each?

LW asked the Council if they could explain this but it seems they are not able to do so. We requested an explanation on 30 October and again on 1 November. And again on 16th November. We have now been promised a comment maybe this week – or possibly next week.

Below are the main figures and the data. If anyone works out what is going us please let the rest of us – and particularly those on the housing list – know what is going on.

This issue is the subject of a motion by Cllr. Peter Golds (Conservative, Island Gardens) at the Town Hall tonight.



Data Table

London BoroughWaiting List 2017Proposed New HomesGLA Grant AllocationUnit Cost
Barking and Dagenham6,795565£25,518,000£45,165
City of London853156£14,880,000£95,385
Hammersmith and Fulham1,577251£15,308,000£60,988
Kensington and Chelsea2,718336£33,600,000£100,000
Kingston upon Thames9,732713£67,844,000£95,153
Tower Hamlets18,616675£13,000,000£19,259
Waltham Forest8,795293£25,518,000£87,092
Average = £73,063


Data Sources

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