Inside Housing – Commentary – London needs funding program to weather COVID-19 slowdown and provide the social housing the city needs

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Our task force report argues for a £ 5bn stimulus package to increase the number of new truly affordable homes, including a pioneering ‘buyer of last resort’ package to enable councils and associations housing to buy unsold private homes at cost. This will give home builders confidence and increase the supply of much needed rented social housing.

We need the government to work with London City Hall and Councils to step up efforts to provide land, including public land, for affordable housing and sites suitable for small builders who are the backbone of our development industry.

“If ministers step in to provide the funding and the powers we need, then London’s housing sector is ready to deliver and support the recovery.”

This should include the government giving councils and the mayor the power to buy land at a much lower price and new “binding sale order” power for local authorities to force the sale and development of land. land and buildings abandoned for some time. .

Direct government support, in collaboration with the mayor, could increase the number of state-of-the-art precision prefabricated houses delivered on a large scale and meet environmental and high quality standards.

To energize our construction workforce and preserve the jobs of tomorrow, the government should take this opportunity to invest in apprenticeship in construction and make this vital sector a good career prospect for young people leaving. school, college or university this year and face an uncertain future. .

Together, the task force’s recommendations would help pull London and the country out of the COVID-19 slowdown and protect thousands of jobs. The London housing sector has spoken – now is the government to act.

À M Copley, deputy mayor for housing and residential development

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