The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a new £10m fund to beef up London councils’ housing and planning teams and help boost their role building new homes in the capital.
Over the last eight years, central Government cuts have seen council budgets for planning and development fall by 50 per cent in London. This, says the Mayor, has held back housing growth, and particularly plans to build new council homes.
Sadiq’s new Homebuilding Capacity Fund will allow councils to bid for up to £750,000 each to boost their housing and planning teams. This could include hiring new staff to lead council homebuilding projects and develop new masterplans.
Bids will be considered that help to deliver new ouncil homes; more homes, including social rented and other genuinely affordable homes, on small sites; proactive masterplans in areas with significant growth potential; and optimal density across new residential developments in an area.
Recenty, Deputy Mayor for Housing James Murray launched a new Council-Led Housing Forum, run by Future of London, to provide technical advice to practitioners involved in council-led delivery of homes.
This support will help councils deliver their successful bids to the Mayor’s Building Council Homes for Londoners programme, launched in May this year, set out to help get 10,000 new council homes underway over the next four years. Bidding closed on September 30th, and initial allocations will be announced soon.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s housing crisis has been decades in the making and there is no easy solution – but we will only make progress if councils can take a lead in getting new homes built.
“In the 1970s London councils were supported by central government and built more than 20,000 homes a year. However, these councils built only 2,500 homes over the last seven years, including 700 that were completed last year.
“Despite wanting to do far more, councils have been hamstrung by swingeing cuts from Government for far too long. My new Homebuilding Capacity Fund won’t reverse those cuts – but it will help ambitious councils to enhance their capacity to deliver large-scale new-build programmes.
“I am able to do this thanks to the business rates devolution deal between the capital and central Government – giving us more control to spend more money on the things that matter most to Londoners.”
The Homebuilding Capacity Fund is being funded through the Business Rates Retention Pilot announced at last years’ Autumn Budget.
This sees the capital retain 100 per cent of any increase in business rate receipts above the Government’s baseline during the financial year 2018/2019.