The Mayor of London, London Councils and the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations have this morning (27th February) sent an open letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government warning of the potentially ‘catastrophic’ effects that a no-deal Brexit could have on affordable housing delivery in London.
In the letter, addressed to James Brokenshire MP, representatives express ‘deep concerns’ on the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit in recent months, urging the government to ‘act now’ to mitigate any risks to the delivery of housing, particularly affordable homes.
The letter also highlights how it is becoming ‘increasingly clear’ that most private home builders and major developers are holding back on starting new projects – concerns said to lead to a loss of affordable housing as 20% of affordable supply is generated by S106 agreements.
Further outlined by the open letter, recommendations to government include the need to provide an emergency grant of an estimated £5.2bn in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
This is said enable the support the build of 30,000 affordable homes planned to start over the next 18 months and the conversion of an additional 9,000 homes from market sale to social rent.
The model, collaboratively created by the G15 and the Greater London Authority (GLA) is also proposed to adequately ‘de-risk’ housing association and council programmes.
Other recommendations include:
• ensuring continued access to development finance and enabling funds, including London’s share of the long-delayed Housing Infrastructure Fund
• acting to reduce the threats to the supply of essential labour and materials for homebuilding
The letter concluded: “Brexit is already impacting the homebuilding sector in London.
“It is very frustrating given our success over the last two years in building confidence with our partners, and given Londoners’ need for good quality and affordable homes.
“We are committed to doing all we can to keep London building the council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable homes we need, but there is an urgent need for certainty and we urge the government to step up and take responsibility for addressing these serious challenges.”