New £10m fund to improve London councils' housing

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is launching a new £10 million fund to increase London councils' housing and planning teams and help boost their role building new homes in the capital.

Central government cuts over the last eight years have seen council budgets for planning and development fall by 50 per cent in London, hitting housing growth hard, and particularly plans to build new council homes. The new Homebuilding Capacity Fund will allow councils to bid for up to £750,000 each to boost their housing and planning teams.

Bids will be considered that help to deliver: a new generation of council homes; more homes, including social rented and other genuinely affordable homes, on small sites; proactive masterplans in areas with significant growth potential; and optimal density across new residential developments in an area.

Khan said: “London’s housing crisis has been decades in the making and there is no easy solution – but we will only make progress if councils can take a lead in getting new homes built. In the 1970s London councils were supported by central government and built more than 20,000 homes a year. However, these councils built only 2,500 homes over the last seven years, including 700 that were completed last year.

“Despite wanting to do far more, councils have been hamstrung by swingeing cuts from government for far too long. My new Homebuilding Capacity Fund won't reverse those cuts - but it will help ambitious councils to enhance their capacity to deliver large-scale new-build programmes. I am able to do this thanks to the business rates devolution deal between the capital and central government – giving us more control to spend more money on the things that matter most to Londoners."