London needs 'more ambitious action' from government to tackle homelessness

Responding to the Budget, London Councils has warned “more ambitious action” will be needed to tackle the capital’s worsening homelessness crisis.

In the face of on-going cost-of-living pressures and rising homelessness numbers, boroughs had urged the Chancellor to raise Local Housing Allowance rates to support low-income households pay their rent and avoid homelessness.

Boroughs had also hoped to see more measures to help increase delivery of affordable housing. In particular, boroughs are seeking an end to the Treasury’s restrictions over Right to Buy sales receipts, arguing that complete flexibility would ensure every penny raised from council house sales can be reinvested in building replacement homes [1].

Figures released by London Councils show one in 23 children in the capital are homeless. London Councils estimates there to be 166,000 homeless Londoners – including 81,000 children – living in temporary accommodation arranged by their local borough [2].

According to London Councils’ analysis, boroughs in the capital need to make around £100m of savings in their budgets this year, which they warn risks undermining their ability to tackle homelessness, promote inclusive economic growth, help deliver net zero, and other key priorities for Londoners.  

With the Budget confirming 12 new investment zones all outside London and new devolution deals for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands including medium-term funding settlements, London Councils has reiterated that bolder devolution is also required in the capital.

Boroughs want more decision-making powers and resources to be devolved to them as they are closest to local communities, arguing this is vital for addressing London’s immense social and economic challenges with innovative solutions.

Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said:

“More ambitious action is still needed for tackling the worsening homelessness crisis.

“Our latest figures show at least one child in every classroom in London is homeless. There are 81,000 children in temporary accommodation across the capital, worrying about where their family is going to live.

“We had hoped to see the Chancellor announce a rise in the Local Housing Allowance, which would go a long way to making housing more affordable for low-income Londoners. We also need much more support for building the affordable homes that our communities desperately need.  

“Further devolution to the capital is vital. Boroughs would be in a much better position to tackle many of London’s longstanding challenges if we could take the lead on policy decisions and direct resources for investing in services.

“Boroughs remain as committed as ever to working with the government on these issues and in securing a fairer, more prosperous, and more sustainable future for London that delivers for our residents and for the UK economy.”



Notes to editors:

[1] Approximately 300,000 council homes have been sold in the capital since the introduction of Right to Buy in 1980. London boroughs currently have 301,000 households on their housing waiting lists.

[2] New London Councils analysis based on data from the boroughs shows growing homelessness pressures across the capital. There are now 166,000 homeless Londoners – equivalent to the entire population of a city such as Oxford – living in temporary accommodation arranged by their local borough. London accounts for two-thirds of England’s total number of households in temporary accommodation and the number of homeless London households in temporary accommodation has increased by 66% since 2010.

[3] London Councils’ key asks to the government ahead of the Budget can be found here.


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