London Councils has broadly welcomed the housing measures set out in the Budget, while pointing to issues where further government support is still required.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said:
“Although the government has clearly listened to many of our housing concerns, today’s Budget hasn’t delivered everything we’d hoped.
“London faces the most severe homelessness pressures in the country. With over 57,000 London households currently in temporary accommodation, we desperately need more affordable homes in the capital.
“Boroughs will therefore be greatly relieved by the additional funds for affordable housing and cheaper lending for us to build social homes. We’ve long argued that boroughs need to be put on a firmer financial footing if we’re to deliver the new generation of council housing we all want to see.
“Rough sleeping is the most visible symptom of the worsening housing crisis. While we still need more detail about how exactly the funds will be allocated, we welcome the government’s additional £650 million investment for securing accommodation for rough sleepers. Boroughs urgently need more resources for frontline support services – we hope this new funding will boost our ability to get rough sleepers off the streets and into housing.
“Fire safety is another top priority for London boroughs and we have repeatedly expressed concern about the lack of progress in removing dangerous cladding from buildings.
“Although the Budget unveiled a £1bn Building Safety Fund and put much-needed emphasis on securing compliance from building owners in the private sector, it’s not yet clear how much of this funding will be available to boroughs to cover costs incurred for vital remediation work in the social sector.
“London boroughs urge the government to reconsider the commitment to remediation only on buildings over 18 metres high when there is still unsafe cladding on buildings below that threshold. We need to see a broader approach to risk and we will continue to work with Ministers on this agenda.”
London currently accounts for two-thirds of homelessness in England, with over 88,000 children living in temporary accommodation. More than half (56%) of London’s homeless households are in work.
Homelessness in London is driven by a chronic lack of affordable housing. London boroughs are determined to build the homes that Londoners need, but lack the powers and resources to deliver housing at sufficient scale. London Councils will continue to call on the government to improve support for local authorities’ housebuilding ambitions, including an end to all restrictions on the use of Right to Buy receipts so that every penny raised from council house sales can be invested in local replacements.