Sadiq Khan has called on the Chancellor Philip Hammond to take emergency action to support homebuilding in the Budget – including additional funding for affordable homes and devolution to London – amid growing concerns in the housing industry about the impact of Brexit.
Homebuilders are increasingly concerned that Brexit is already having an impact on homebuilding in the capital, and that this will only get worse over the coming months. Top of homebuilders’ concerns is continued access to the almost 100,000 skilled construction workers from the European Union who contribute invaluably to building the homes and infrastructure London so desperately needs.
Sadiq Khan is now calling on the government to take emergency action in this month’s Budget to give him the resources and powers he needs to support homebuilding in the capital through the turbulence of the Brexit process.
This includes devolution of new powers to London such as greater control over public land and allowing councils to borrow to invest in homes, a massive increase in government funding for homebuilding and infrastructure, and full control over London’s skills and further education systems.
He believes this must go hand in hand with guarantees of the rights of EU nationals living in London and continued access to the Single Market when Britain leaves the European Union.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, “Homebuilders are increasingly worried that Brexit could make London’s housing crisis even worse.
“They are already feeling the impact of the government’s pursuit of a hard Brexit with an increasing skills shortage that is having a knock-on effect on the number of homes being built. The bad news is that this will only get worse unless we give EU nationals a cast-iron guarantee that they will have the right to remain post-Brexit.
“I fear the consequences of losing these 100,000 skilled workers would be catastrophic to London’s plans to build the genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent Londoners so desperately need.
“I urge the government to listen to the housing industry, who are clearly concerned. Ministers need to take emergency action and give me the powers and resources I need to lead a new building programme to properly tackle the housing crisis.”
Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said, “More than anywhere else in the country, housebuilding sites in London rely heavily on foreign labour. As housebuilders look to build more desperately needed homes in the capital the industry is ramping up recruitment and training, but it is essential we continue to have access to skilled labour. Housing output is increasing but reducing the supply of workers could threaten further increases.”
Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation added, “London’s housing shortage continues to undermine the capital’s capacity to increase productivity and economic growth. We need all housing tenures firing on all cylinders to make meaningful change, but this will require protecting EU workers’ right to live and work in the UK.
“They make up a significant proportion of the construction sector’s workforce. We urge government to make a deal as soon as possible on EU workers’ right to be here, giving them the confidence to continue calling the UK their home and providing assurance to the construction sector so we can drive forward a much-needed, ambitious housebuilding programme.”