Housing News (March 2013):
In a crisis unaided by a poor economy and aggregated by rising housing costs, London’s officials look for possible solutions to help build more homes in the London area. In a community where only 55% own their own home, many of the Irish in London would benefit from the production of more living spaces.
London is in a housing crisis and needs to build 36,000 homes a year simply to keep pace with an expected population of over nine million by 2025. With rents in the capital already averaging £1,272 a month and more than 360,000 households in London on housing waiting lists, councils have an essential role to play in increasing the availability of affordable housing for all Londoners.
- Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive for Housing
Last December, London Councils released a report that would add 54,000 homes to a city that desperately needs more living spaces. The report, Meeting Londoners’ Housing Needs: Investing In Housing Infrastructure, was written in support of an amendment (New Clause 10) to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. The bill, which reached the House of Lords in February, deals with the provisions of infrastructure, development, and acquisition of land. New Clause 10 would enable local authorities to borrow against the full value of their housing assets to help fund new homes. Providing temporary accommodation to London citizens costs £408 million a year, and this cost would theoretically be reduced if enough social rent was collected on new homes.
What is needed now is a radically different approach which optimises City Hall's role, unlocks the potential of the capital's boroughs, allows developers including housing associations to up their game and creates a stable supply of land for housing. Above all, London needs a stable funding stream which will support and accelerate its housing and infrastructure delivery.
- Mayor Boris Johnson
With a different solution to the same problem, on February 6th, Mayor Boris Johnson gave a speech at the Chartered Institute of Housing in strong favor of the retention of all stamp duty receipts raised on all of London’s property sales. Boris Johnson’s proposal, estimated to be worth £1.3 billion a year, marks yet another attempt to remedy London’s limited housing situation. The Mayor’s proposal is part of a 25-year plan to solve the housing crisis while also creating thousands of jobs.
With the sharp reduction of affordable homes in the private rented sector – where rents continue to increase – boroughs have had no choice but to reluctantly use bed and breakfast accommodation to house people in need.
- Jules Pipe, London Councils’ Chair
Jules Pipe, Mayor of the borough of Hackney, reiterates in his Guardian article that there is a housing crisis in London and reports figures such as 40,000 Londoners living in temporary accommodations.With 42% of London Councilors citing the delivery of more homes as one of their top priorities (the top priority among councilors being the creation of more schools), one can see that the housing crisis is becoming a key issue for the city’s leaders.
FIS recognises that community organisations play a key role in the health and well being of old and young people, families, communities and thriving neighbourhoods.
Our member organisations once serving an exclusively Irish community now operate in areas of great diversity and their services reflect those community changes. FIS Policy team works with our partners across the BME sector and across mainstream services. campaigning for action which supports strengthened communities across Britain. we work to ensure that the Irish community is included in planning and review of local community services and plays a full part in thriving communities.