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· Sahiba Chadha

Ten Ways to Address London’s Housing Crisis

Panellists and attendees of our recent Sustainability Talk collaborated to propose a list of ten strategies for dealing with the housing crisis.

1. Local Authorities must reclaim their role as Housebuilders.

The private sector has demonstrated that the market cannot meet the Mayor's targets, even when including the provision of unaffordable luxury homes.

2. Restructure subsidy for affordable and social housing.

Better for the state to invest in good quality housing that provides a long-term return, than subsidise rents that profit landlords through Housing Benefit. Provided for by rewriting Section 106 on the basis of land value capture rather than mitigation of unacceptable development.

3. Radical rethink of tax.

A Land Value Tax to capture value uplift following planning consent that would limit land-banking (or a time limit on holding land).  A steeper graduation on stamp duty. Reconsider Capital Gains Tax exemption on primary residences. Taxation of buy-to-let/leave without the tax benefits currently enjoyed.

4. Market regulation by the Government.

A clear land valuation procedure (including appropriate density and viability assessments guided by planners), with rental control and price caps to limit excessive price escalation.

5. Direct local action - make yourself heard!

Local Authorities should assign land for communities that want to build. Remove bureaucratic hurdles that frustrate self-build.

6. Place greater value in quality and longevity.

To be truly sustainable we need to build homes that will last a minimum of 100 years.

7. Attract a more diverse mix of investors.

Could Pension funds and the State help to re-balance the funding mix in house-building to ensure there is an interest in quality and long term value? Guiding foreign investment would be better than fighting it through taxation.

8. Training and Capacity Building for Local Authorities.

We need Local Authorities to rediscover their expertise as exemplary clients of Community Infrastructure and Housing, and to be the confident hand on the tiller of Masterplanning.

9. Open book Development Appraisals.

Clarity through an open-book approach to development appraisals by Local Authorities.

10. A confident bite out of the green belt.

Considered and regulated building on the brownfield and low quality areas of the green belt.

 

Read more about the original event "Too few units, even fewer homes!" here.

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