New report documents the changing face of the capital
Social housing can be a contentious issue in the capital. Homes that make very little money for developers and councils can take up extremely valuable space. But if we don’t build them, London will become a place only the wealthy can afford to live.
Across the capital we’re watching 1960s, 70s and 80s housing estates being regenerated. At places like Stratford, Wembley, King’s Cross and Elephant & Castle, billions of pounds have been or are being invested to improve the area.
But while we’re building more homes, the number of social homes is declining, a new report has found.
London has lost 8,000 social homes in the last decade, according to the London Assembly Housing Committee’s report, Knock It Down Or Do It Up?.
The report calls on central government and the mayor to allow councils to borrow money against existing homes, and to reduce the 20% VAT on refurbishment to 0% (which is the current rate for new builds), among other measures.
Darren Johnson AM, chair of the Housing Committee, said: “Market homes play an important role in unlocking investment to plough into creating decent social homes, but the extent of the housing crisis means we need homes for all income groups, not just the well-heeled.
“What’s also clear is that the most popular regeneration schemes are those where councils and housing associations genuinely engage existing residents in decisions, rather than taking important decisions about people’s family homes from behind closed doors.
“We also heard of some examples where providers have gone the extra mile to work with their communities on regeneration schemes, and I hope councils, housing associations and residents will be able to use the report to build a two-way dialogue.”