With the Public Accounts Committee publishing a new report warning that the government is likely to fail to meet its housebuilding targets, London Councils has responded.
This response comes with London having the highest rates of homelessness in the country, with estimates claiming that almost 150,000 Londoners, 75,000 of whom are children, are homeless and living in temporary accommodation that has been organised by their local authority.
One of the driving forces behind this high homelessness rate is the chronic shortage of affordable housing, however London Councils has highlighted that this could be boosted through national-level policy changes. These include:
- 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 form council house sales can be reinvested in building a replacement home.
London Councils’ Executive Member for Regeneration, Housing and Planning, Cllr Darren Rodwell, 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.
“Borough 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 off 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 shar goals of ending homelessness and securing economic growth.”
Boroughs in London are responsible for just under half of al affordable housing delivery, thanks to the Affordable Homes Programme.