London boroughs call for further action to boost affordable housing

  • By JackGraves

Responding to the latest details of the government’s Affordable Homes Programme, London boroughs have warned that the plans “won’t do nearly enough” to address the capital’s chronic shortage of affordable housing.

Although boroughs welcome the government’s £12 billion investment in affordable homes, there are concerns that London’s proportional share of the funding is being reduced – despite the capital facing the most severe homelessness crisis in the country. Boroughs also point to the significant need to increase investment in homes for social rent, while the government instead says it will rebalance grant funding in favour of affordable homeownership tenures.

There are currently 243,000 London households on waiting lists for council housing. Over 58,000 homeless households are placed in temporary accommodation by London boroughs. The capital accounts for two-thirds of homelessness in England and has the highest regional disparity between housing costs and household income.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ executive member for housing & planning, said:

“To deliver on its ambition of levelling up, the government must provide London with the resources needed to address its chronic housing crisis and improve residents’ life chances.

“While this is a significant national funding package, it is disappointing that the government plans to reduce the proportion of investment going towards much-needed new affordable housing in London. This risks leaving us without enough funding to deal with the severe pressures we face.”

“London boroughs are enthusiastic supporters of the government’s ‘build, build, build’ agenda. For example, we recently went to the government to seek financial backing for boroughs to build 50,000 desperately needed homes in the capital. This offer still stands and we will keep urging ministers to do more to bring about a new generation of council housing.

"Investment in homes for social rent is fundamental to boosting housing affordability and security, and councils should be given the powers and resources we need to deliver more homes in our communities.”

London Councils wants the government to do more to support local authority housebuilding. The cross-party group is calling for an end to all national restrictions on the use of Right to Buy receipts, so that every penny raised from council house sales can be reinvested in replacements. Boroughs are also urging the government to confirm long-term social rent levels, as this would help councils plan the financing of housebuilding projects for social rent.