Mayor of London

Mayoral taskforce calls for urgent investment to get London building after Covid-19

The mayor of London has set out a plan to reboot the capital’s housing sector in the wake of Covid-19.

It calls on fresh investment to get London building with a new focus on the latest technology, skills and career opportunities to support construction jobs of the future.

The report suggests several actions that the housing taskforce believes would get the London housing sector and the wider economy on the road to recovery, including:

  • an emergency £4.83bn recovery package for London from the government. This should comprise a £1.33bn programme to facilitate changes of tenure in the remaining three years of the affordable homes programme
  • a £3.5bn buyer of last resort scheme
  • city hall and whitehall to co-operate on a major campaign to promote the construction sector as a career that can be considered by all
  • direct investment from the government and GLA to enable the procurement of precision manufactured homes at greater scale and in a more standardised way
  • government and city hall to step up efforts to bring forward land that is ready for development, including public land for affordable housing-led development and sites suitable for smaller builders.

It is said that the emergency recovery package could ensure that nearly 44,000 council, social and other affordable homes would continue to be built over the next three years. 

The recommendations are part of the final report from deputy mayor Tom Copley’s Covid-19 housing delivery taskforce.

The taskforce — which was convened in April 2020 and is made up of senior representatives from local and regional government, along with a range of membership bodies representing organisations directly involved in the delivery of new homes in London — believes it is essential:

  • to develop the skills and expertise of existing workers 
  • to build on the mayor’s construction academy by training new construction workers through apprenticeship and training programmes
  • to ensure London continues to be an attractive destination for skilled site workers from overseas by developing a new post-Brexit visa system 

Sadiq Khan said: “This roadmap to recovery builds on the skills, expertise and experience we have while investing in the latest technology and training to maintain our world-leading workforce. 

“Now, ministers must listen and support our recommendations so we can emerge from this crisis with improved resilience, a greater sense of co-operation and a new-found resolve to deliver the genuinely affordable homes that London so desperately needs.”

Kate Henderson, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, commented: “As well as being the right thing to do, putting money into new social housing always pays dividends through support for jobs, businesses and the wider economy.”
Councillor Darren Rodwell, London councils’ executive member for housing and planning, added: “Boroughs are playing a leading role in tackling the capital’s chronic shortage of affordable homes. 

“But with the sector under massive pressure due to Covid-19, there’s a clear and urgent need for government support.”

Suzannah Nicol, chief executive at Build UK, said: “By working collaboratively, we can provide quality homes, using greener and more modern technologies that are safe, affordable, and which people want to live and work in.”

The taskforce comprises the following core members:

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