The London Housing Commission has published a new report which has highlighted a number of important issues surrounding London’s housing crisis.
The report made the case that Whitehall should devolve more powers to City Hall and individual London boroughs. This reaffirms the proposals that the Housing and Finance Institute had set out in our Boosting the Boroughs report. It is important that London boroughs are equipped with the necessary tools in order to unlock internal capacity to accelerate housing delivery. Full direct devolution to boroughs would allow London to reflect housing diversity and deliver better housing outcomes.
The report also asserted that the London Mayor should have the necessary powers to intervene if boroughs are not doing enough for housing. The HFI have set out proposals for a strategic approach for the London Mayor when it comes to intervention. If boroughs are not doing enough to secure finance and development, then the Mayor should intervene as a last resort. These additional powers would allow for a more effective form of governance.
In addition, the report drew attention to the fact that it was crucial that boroughs have the capacity to significantly increase the volume and speed of planning approvals. Here at the Housing and Finance Institute, we have an appetite for London boroughs to act as housing delivery enablers. We believe Local authorities have a larger responsibility than just granting planning permissions. They should take a leading role in local housing delivery. They should identify the housing needs of their communities. In addition, they should actively seek partnerships with investors and developers to accelerate delivery.