THE AUTUMN STATEMENT 2016 – SOME GOOD NEWS, BUT A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT TOO

This is what I said in my role as London Councils’ executive member for housing:-

“Today’s announcement is an positive step in the right direction. London Councils has made clear there is a desperate need for thousands more homes, of a range of tenures, to be built.  This specific cash injection for affordable homes will allow the Mayor of London, boroughs and other partners to carry out and extend ambitious plans to properly tackle the capital’s housing crisis.

“London Councils will continue to make the case for boroughs to be given the tools they need to meet the huge challenges they face. Councils are pulling their weight by granting planning permission for tens of thousands of houses across a range of tenures each year. However, the completion rates for housing remain low, and ministers still need to work with boroughs, the GLA and developers to ensure permitted housing is built out in the city – and that the Government’s housing policy works for all Londoners.”

THE GOOD NEWS

  • London will receive £3.15 billion as its share of national affordable housing funding to deliver over 90,000 homes.
  • Devolution to London of the adult education budget, and giving London greater control over the delivery of employment support services for the hardest to help.
  • There will be continuing discussions with London on possible devolution of further powers.
  • Relaxation of restrictions on government grant to allow a wider range of housing-types.
  • The National Living Wage will increase from £7.20 to £7.50 in April next year although this fall well short of the London Living Wage which is currently £9.75
  • From April the Universal Credit taper rate reduces from 65% to 63% – but other welfare changes are untouched and will hit some families hard.
  • In the private rental market an end to letting agents being able to charge unregulated fees to tenants – in future Landlords will pay

…..AND THE BAD

  • No extra money for the NHS – the only mention is a repeat of the £10B announced last year and not a word about Adult Social Care –In London alone the cumulative funding shortfall for adult social care will be at least £800 million by the end of this Parliament – this means that the NHS and Local Government face a very difficult time in the coming months

 Steve Bullock

23 November 2016

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