PLANS TO REDUCE DEVELOPERS AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONTRIBUTIONS SLAMMED –
“Ordinary people will suffer” – councillor
Southwark council has hit out at government plans to allow developers to reduce affordable housing contributions.
“Since December the government has exempted housing developers who turn empty buildings into private housing from paying for affordable housing – even if they could do so and still make a profit on the development” says a council statement..
“Housing developers could gain hundreds of millions of pounds extra in profits by reducing their contribution to building affordable housing, or in some cases even avoiding paying altogether.
“In Southwark this policy means that former industrial sites that are currently vacant ahead of being developed could deliver only a fraction of the potential affordable housing, rather than the 35 per cent affordable housing provision usually required.
“This policy, which will increase developers’ profits at the expense of affordable housing desperately needed in the borough, could also potentially cost the people of our borough thousands of affordable homes” the statement added.
Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Mark Williams said: “If we have any hope of solving the housing crisis we need many more homes of every kind. “This new policy will make that much more difficult.
“The government clearly hasn’t thought this through or given any consideration for how it will affect different parts of the country and it is ordinary people who will suffer as a result.
“This is why we desperately need greater devolution over housing and investment so that each area of the country can do the right thing for their residents.
“People are in desperate need of affordable housing. In Southwark we are doing all we can to meet the challenge and have built more affordable homes in the last three years than any other London borough.
“But the government’s latest changes will drastically reduce the number of affordable homes we can build. “First they cut the central government grant that supported new affordable homes and now they are making it easier for developers to limit the number they build.
“To tackle the housing crisis and build the huge number required, we need the public and private sectors to work together, but this government is apparently intent on making that impossible. “We already take the financial viability of proposed schemes into account; this change only further loads the dice against affordable homes being built.
“We will be looking at what measures we can take to stop this appalling decision having such an impact in the borough.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
Commenting on polling from the Chartered Institute of Housing showing that 76 per cent of Londoners think there is a housing crisis in their area, Labour London Assembly housing spokesman Tom Copley said:
“There is now no doubt at the depth of public concern about the capital’s housing crisis. “Rocketing prices and a lack of affordable supply has made housing the number one issue for many Londoners.
“With the average London home now costing over half a million pounds it’s crystal clear that for many Londoners owning a home is becoming little more than a dream.
“Despite this the Mayor of London has consistently under delivered, presiding over a boom in safe deposit box homes for overseas investors whilst at the same time missing his affordable house building targets.
“With 76pc of Londoners now saying there is a housing crisis in their area it’s time the Mayor woke up to the scale of the problem.”
Mr Copley is a Labour Londonwide Assembly member. (Source: GLA Labour party press release).