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Autumn Budget 2017 - housing announcements

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

London Councils’ response to announcements related to housing in the Autumn Budget 2017

 

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said:

“There are more than 50,000 homeless households in temporary accommodation in London and the need for 72,000 new homes a year to meet demand.

“The Chancellor has taken steps to acknowledge the housing crisis in London in the Autumn Budget but he has not gone far enough to empower councils to play their full part in fixing the capital’s broken housing market.” 

 

National housebuilding target – 300,000 homes by the mid-2020s

 

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said:

“The last time this target was reached in 1977, when local authorities built 44 per cent of that total. If the Government wants to achieve their target then they must remove the constraints placed on councils and allow us to make a meaningful contribution to the target.

“While the additional £2 billion confirmed for the Affordable Homes Fund shows that Government wants councils to play a role in housebuilding, London’s share of the pot will not cover the number of new homes needed in the capital.”

 

Changes to the HRA borrowing cap

 

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said:

“Changes to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap will have a limited impact as councils must bid to borrow more and will have to wait until 2019/20 to use any additional powers they are granted. The amount they can borrow is also capped at £1 billion across all councils. 

“It is clear that the Chancellor has not yet allowed councils to use HRA borrowing to its fullest extent, which will hinder efforts to build at scale and pace to increase housing supply in the capital.”

 

Fire safety work in tower block accommodation

 

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said:

“The Grenfell Tower fire was an exceptional tragedy and councils are determined to ensure nothing like it ever happens again. London boroughs are committed to addressing the safety concerns of our residents by carrying out remedial work on council-owned accommodation, which will cost at least £402 million.

“Government must give councils the resources to meet these exceptional costs or risk threatening their work to fix the housing crisis by increasing housing supply locally and maintaining their existing housing stock.”

 

Homelessness

 

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said:

“With 70 per cent of homeless families living in the capital, London boroughs are absolutely on the frontline of the housing crisis. While additional funding for targeted homelessness prevention schemes and a new taskforce are helpful, they do not address the chronic lack of homes of a mixture of types and tenures in London. 

“Government should reconsider the ways it supports boroughs to meet local housing needs. In the long term, only a sustained programme of housebuilding alongside further investment in homelessness prevention and relief services will help us turn the tide.”

 

Empty homes premium (councils can add a 100% premium to council tax on empty properties)

 

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said:

“The Empty Homes Premium announced today is welcome but many property owners who are keeping their properties empty will only respond to significantly greater penalties. As a start councils should be enabled to charge empty properties as being in the highest council tax band. ”

 

Stamp duty

 

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said:

“This announcement aims to make it easier for first time buyers to get onto the property ladder. However the long term impact of this measure on the housing market remains to be seen.”

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors:

To read more about London Councils' view on the Autumn Budget 2017, visit http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/our-key-themes/local-government-finance/government-spending-plans/autumn-2017.

For more information from Government on the Autumn Budget 2017, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-budget-2017.