Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, to take decisive action over Britain’s housebuilding crisis during next week’s Autumn Budget.
According to City Hall, Brexit uncertainty has already cast a pall over housebuilding in the capital and conditions will likely worsen in the weeks and months to come. The chief concern remains continued access to some 100,000 EU workers post-Brexit, each of whom contribute immeasurably to the construction of new homes and much-needed infrastructure.
Research conducted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has shown that 42% of the London construction sector has felt the sting of Brexit, having suffered through staff shortages, costly delays and less investment. Now, three in five construction employers in the capital are bracing for more negativity over the next five years – including a shortage of skilled workers.
Consequently, Mayor Khan has petitioned the UK government to take emergency action in next week’s Budget, furnishing him with the resources and powers necessary to support housebuilding throughout the capital. Proposed measures include the devolution of new powers to London – specifically greater control over public land and the ability for councils to borrow to invest in homes – a substantial increase in the amount of funding available for housebuilding and infrastructure schemes, and complete control over London’s skills and further education systems.
“Homebuilders are increasingly worried that Brexit could make London’s housing crisis even worse,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. “They are already feeling the impact of the government’s pursuit of a hard Brexit with an increasing skills shortage that is having a knock-on effect on the number of homes being built. The bad news is that this will only get worse unless we give EU nationals a cast-iron guarantee that they will have the right to remain post-Brexit.
“I fear the consequences of losing these 100,000 skilled workers would be catastrophic to London’s plans to build the genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent Londoners so desperately need. I urge the government to listen to the housing industry, who are clearly concerned. Ministers need to take emergency action and give me the powers and resources I need to lead a new building programme to properly tackle the housing crisis.”
Paul Hackett, Chair of g15 – representing London’s largest housing associations – echoed those sentiments, saying: “Our members are gearing up for a substantial increase in housebuilding, including a commitment to start 42,000 affordable homes in the capital by 2021. We wholeheartedly back the Mayor’s call for an early deal on the rights of EU nationals to continue to work in the capital.”