Report calls for introduction of new capital ‘city deal’

A new report by the London Housing Commission has called upon the government to introduce ‘radical’ new powers regarding housing, borrowing and property taxes, including a ’city deal’ for housing in London.

The city deal involves removing the cap on housing borrowing limits, greater retention of stamp duty and the freedom to set local planning fees and council tax premiums on empty and second homes.

It also advises that the Mayor of London and boroughs must agree to double the number of new homes in the capital by the end of the decade, arguing that the number of houses being built only meets 50 per cent of actual demand.

Lord Bob Kerslake, who chaired the commission, said: “If nothing is done, both the scarcity and affordability of housing across London will continue to worsen. Levels of home ownership will continue to fall and rents will continue to rise. That will not only put extra strains on the lives of Londoner’s living in the capital, but will also have wider social and economic consequences.

“The next strategy for London housing requires two phases. First, there is a number of actions the Mayor and the boroughs can take immediately to boost housing supply. Beyond that, there are a series of longer-term reforms, including devolving powers to the Mayor and the boroughs, which would make further inroads into the housing crisis, and maintain the momentum behind the efforts of the Mayor and boroughs."