The g15, which represents London’s 15 biggest housing associations, is committed to making a better case for more affordable housing for London.
We need a quantum increase in supply and more certainty about how this will be delivered and funded. To achieve this we believe that action must be taken on these 10 key points:
- Increase flexibility on rents – a more equitable distribution of rent levels for current and future tenants can produce the capacity to develop more homes at grant levels that offer good value for money to the Exchequer;
- Continue availability of grant. It is an unfortunate truism that sub market housing needs subsidy. Capital grant is an effective way of delivering that subsidy;
- A fairer benefit system that reflect the high costs of living in London. The g15 is greatly concerned that reforms to welfare benefits and the Government’s new Affordable Rent programme, which could see social housing rents charged at up to 80 per cent of the market, will take housing out of reach for many of those who are not working and lead to child poverty, arrears and eviction. We will be tracking the impact of this and other policies on the 1 in 10 Londoners that are our tenants;
- Creation of mixed communities by offering a range of housing products at different price points suitable to people on different incomes;
- Alternatives to owner occupation for people on modest and mid range incomes. The priority remains to provide more rented housing affordable to low income households but low cost home ownership and other market related schemes will have growing importance as first time buyers are priced out of the conventional market by shortage of supply, high prices and stricter terms for mortgage availability;
- Releasing public land for development – where possible at nil or discounted cost to enable affordable housing to be developed at discounted grant rates;
- Insistence that affordable housing planning obligations are delivered on the site to which they relate;
- Providing people with the flexibility to move between ownership and rent as their circumstances change;
- A simpler lettings system which delivers true Londonwide mobility for tenants and applicants, removing geographic barriers to entry;
- A coherent approach to planning across the boroughs to create more certainty and consistency in the planning application process.
The strength of the g15 comes from our diversity and the choice we offer to Londoners. We work closely with national and local government, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Mayor to find ways of improving housing opportunities for Londoners. We believe there is a case to be made for the economic as well as social and human benefits of providing more and better housing in the capital.
Chair g15, March 2012