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Radical devolution deal for London mooted to tackle housing crisis

by on March 10, 2016

The commission set up by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) to consider how to solve the capital’s housing crisis has recommended a radical package of measures.  These include sweeping new powers for the Mayor as part of a ground-breaking devolution deal with central government.

Under these proposals the London Mayor and the London boroughs would commit to doubling the annual supply of new homes of all types and tenures by 2020.

In return the government would exempt London from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), give the Mayor’s London Plan the same status as the NPPF and provide the Mayor with the power to force boroughs to change their plans if they don’t identify enough land for housing.

Under these proposals the Mayor and the boroughs would form a joint London Housing Committee to coordinate housing policy across the capital and to set planning fees for the capital.

Local authorities outside London would have duty to cooperate with the Mayor to help solve the capital’s housing crisis.

As part of the proposed devolution deal both the Greater London Authority and the boroughs would be allowed to borrow more for house building and infrastructure. The proceeds of stamp duty would also be devolved to the capital.

Boroughs would be allowed to levy, at their discretion, council tax on developments that fail to meet agreed building targets.

The commission, chaired by former Department for Communities and Local Government permanent secretary Lord Bob Kerslake, argued that the Mayor and boroughs should commit to identifying sufficient land to deliver 50,000 homes per year for the next decade. They should also significantly increase the volume and speed of planning approvals by increasing the capacity of planning departments and create a London planning inspectorate.

View the press release


Roger Milne

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