Prime Minister’s speech proves Government is far behind the curve on tackling London’s housing crisis

March 5th, 2018

In response to the Prime Minister’s speech earlier today, in which she set out the Government’s proposals to tackle to the housing crisis, Labour’s London Assembly Spokesperson for Housing, Tom Copley AM said:

“For years, the Government has been far behind the curve in addressing the sheer lack of genuinely affordable housing in London and across the country. What we needed the Prime Minister to announce today was major public investment in new social and council housing. What we got instead were the same tired old platitudes about the planning system we’ve been hearing from minister for years.

“Whilst some of the proposals announced today for reforming national planning laws are welcome, such as tackling abuse of viability assessments by developers, I am troubled by her attempts to shift the blame of the Government’s failures, onto councils for obstructing increases to housing supply.

“This is simply not the case, when councils are currently responsible for approving nine in 10 planning applications, and over the last year have granted almost twice as many planning permissions as the number of new homes that had been completed.

“It’s a bit much for the Government to blame councils for a lack of housebuilding when ministers refuse to give councils the powers and finances necessary for them to build large numbers of homes directly. The Treasury refuses to remove the borrowing cap for council house building, which means it’s easier for a council to borrow to buy a shopping centre than to build new homes. Despite a manifesto pledge to give councils the power to buy up land to build on at a fair market value, the Government has so far failed to deliver this.

“The cuts that they have made to housing investment have led to the lowest number of new social rented homes built on record.

“In stark contrast, we have a Mayor that is taking pragmatic steps to build the genuinely affordable housing that Londoners desperately need. Judging from the Prime Minister’s speech, the Government should take note”.

Ends

Notes:

  • On 5th March 2018, in a speech, the Prime Minister set out the Government’s proposals to tackle the housing crisis in the UK.
  • According to the Chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), Gary Porter, councils are currently responsible for approving nine in ten planning applications, and over the last year have granted almost twice as many planning permissions as the number of new homes that had been completed.
  • Analysis of the latest data from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) shows that in 2015/2016, the lowest number of new social rented homes were built since records began.
  • Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member and Labour’s London Assembly Spokesperson for Housing.