London Councils has responded to a new report from the Public Accounts Committee warning that the government is unlikely to meet its housebuilding targets.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Regeneration, Housing & Planning, said:
“We desperately need more affordable homes in the capital if we’re to tackle our massive housing pressures. London’s affordability crisis is driving up homelessness and undermining our future as an economically dynamic and socially sustainable city.
“Boroughs are boosting housebuilding as much as we can, but we face immense challenges – including fast-rising costs within the construction sector and tight budget constraints.
“Given the increasing scale of these challenges, we want to work with the government in ramping up the support available to social housing providers and preventing a slump in the delivery of new affordable homes. London boroughs will continue to make the case for more investment in housebuilding, which will pay enormous dividends and help us achieve our shared goals of ending homelessness and securing economic growth.”
London has the highest homelessness rates in the country. London Councils estimates almost 150,000 Londoners – including 75,000 children – are homeless and living in temporary accommodation arranged by their local borough. The chronic shortage of affordable housing in the capital is a key factor in London’s homelessness rates.
Boroughs represent 40% of all expected affordable housing delivery in the capital within the current Affordable Homes Programme. However, London Councils highlights that local housebuilding could be boosted through policy changes at a national level – in particular:
- Increased investment in the Affordable Homes Programme, including by raising grant rates per unit.
- Long-term certainty over social rents to aid financial planning and reimbursement for the impact of the forthcoming 7% rent ceiling.
- Complete flexibility over local authorities' use of Right to Buy sales receipts, so that every penny raised from council house sales can be reinvested in building a replacement home.