The London Housing Commission has published its report on how best to tackle the housing crisis in the capital.
The report's conclusions are extensive but the most eye-catching of them include:
- exempting London from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and instead giving the mayor’s London Plan the same status as the NPPF – and giving the mayor the power to force boroughs to change their plans if they are not identifying enough land for housing. This will mean that local authorities outside London have a duty to cooperate with the mayor to help solve London’s housing crisis
- devolving stamp duty on the same model as the government’s recent devolution of business rates to local authorities, allowing London to retain a substantial proportion of its stamp duty income, in return for an equivalent reduction in grants from central government, and to adjust stamp duty rates in consultation with the business community, such as via the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and London First
- doubling the supply of new homes to London to 50,000 per year by 2020, and to maintain this for at least the following five years
- Identifying sufficient land to deliver 50,000 homes per year for the next decade
- increasing the capacity of boroughs’ planning departments and creating a London planning inspectorate; and
- earmarking a significant proportion of public land for affordable housing and new privately rented housing.
The mayor and London boroughs would be significantly better able to address the housing crisis if they were given new powers by central government. So they should come together to ask government for a new devolution deal, in return for a commitment that they will, by 2020, double the annual supply of homes. The mayor and boroughs will only be able to deliver on that commitment if they work very closely together. To do that, they should form a joint London Housing Committee to coordinate housing policy across the capital, and to negotiate this new deal with central government.