What are the objectives of your campaign?
The objective of the Fifty Thousand Homes campaign is for London to be building at least 50,000 homes a year by the end of the next Mayoralty in 2020.
The business community is increasingly concerned that a lack housing is impacting on London’s economic competitiveness.
To achieve our objective we want:
- the new Mayor’s housebuilding plan to be implemented
- work with London Government to secure necessary changes and support from national Government to deliver at least 50,000 homes a year by 2020.
Who supports your campaign?
Fifty Thousand Homes is a coalition that includes London’s top business leaders, Shelter, CBI London, FSB London and London First.
All our supporters are united in the belief that unless London’s housing crisis is addressed, there will not only be dire social consequences, but serious economic consequences for the city too.
For a full list of signatories to Fifty Thousand Homes click here.
Who funds your campaign and how is it governed?
Fifty Thousand Homes has been initiated by London First who has provided the campaign secretariat. In addition Fifty Thousand Homes is seeking financial contributions from businesses and organisations to fund the campaign’s activities.
The campaign is overseen by an Advisory Board. This group includes senior representatives from London First, Shelter, CBI London and FSB London; along with any major financial contributor who wishes to nominate a representative. The Advisory Board provides oversight of the campaign finances, ensuring funds are spent properly and guidance to the campaign secretariat. This board may also include individuals with campaigning expertise or policy experience.
For a detailed note on Fifty Thousand Homes governance arrangements please click here.
Why do we need to build 50,000 homes a year?
London is in the midst of a housing crisis. London’s population is growing rapidly and could reach over 11 million people in 2050. Demand for housing is increasing at a rate which far outstrips supply.
At present London is building approximately half the homes it needs. Last year only 23,986 homes were built, whereas all of the experts suggest London needs to be building on average at least 50,000 homes a year.
The basic economic principles of supply and demand is resulting in rapid house price inflation. House prices as a proportion of earnings in London are now the highest they have ever been. As both house prices and private rents continue to soar increasing numbers of Londoners are struggling to find an affordable place to live – affecting those not just on lower incomes, but increasingly those on middle incomes too.
Why does the business community care about housebuilding in London and the South East?
Substantial increases in house prices and rental costs mean people from all walks of life are struggling to find accommodation in the capital. London’s success is built on attracting talent – both home-grown and from across the world. The business community is becoming increasingly concerned that a growing number of talented people across all levels of income are being forced away, or put off coming to the capital in the first place. Recent research for London First showed three-quarters of businesses surveyed warned that the lack of new homes and rising housing costs are “a significant risk to the capital’s economic growth”. The business voice can be a powerful one in helping solve problems, and we hope this can be brought to bear on what is becoming a serious economic issue for London.
What is your view on where and how these 50,000 homes a year should be built?
Fifty Thousand Homes is not proposing a prescriptive set of policies about where and how 50,000 homes a year should be built. Our aim is to ensure that our new Mayor and his team have credible and deliverable housebuilding plans in place. We will then apply pressure to ensure all housebuilding plans are implemented swiftly.
How many of these homes should be put on the open market and how many should be affordable and/or social housing?
London needs more homes across all levels of income but particularly more homes that most Londoners can afford. Fifty Thousand Homes is focused on increasing supply rather than specifying the types of homes that should be built or who should occupy them. These are, of course, important issues but the campaign’s starting point is that these issues can only be satisfactorily addressed if supply is dramatically increased.
Doesn’t doubling housing supply, to at least 50,000 new homes a year, risk a crash in London house prices, thereby hurting the wealth of Londoners who own their home?
Fifty Thousand Homes is about creating a long-term strategy to ensure London is open to everyone who wants to come here and bring their talents, meaning firms can create jobs and London can help drive the UK economy. London’s success is built on attracting talent – both home-grown and from across the world. The business community is becoming increasingly concerned that a growing number of talented people across all levels of income are being forced away, or put off coming to the capital in the first place.
Isn’t one of the problems that wealthy foreign buyers are purchasing much of London’s housing stock?
We must be very careful to not use foreign buyers as a scapegoat so politicians don’t have to take difficult decisions that will annoy their voters. Foreign buyers – and “buy to leave” property owners – are not preventing ordinary Londoners from affording their own homes. What is preventing them from buying is the fact that we are building half the amount of homes we need each year.
What evidence is there that a lack of house-building is impacting on London’s economic competitiveness?
Recent research by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) for Fifty Thousand Homes has found that high housing prices and rents are costing London’s economy over a billion pounds a year and thousands of jobs. The research also suggests high housing costs are not just affecting those on low incomes but many traditionally middle-class occupations too. The research suggests the economic cost to be £14.5bn between 2006 and 2020 (equivalent to £1.04bn a year) and that nearly 11,000 extra jobs could have been created in 2015. For a full summary of the research findings click here.