London mayor launches £10 million fund to boost councils' planning and housing capacity

The mayor of London has today launched a new £10 million fund to help increase capacity in boroughs' planning and housing teams so they can build more homes in the capital.

New fund launched: London mayor Sadiq Khan
New fund launched: London mayor Sadiq Khan

The Homebuilding Capacity Fund will allow boroughs to bid for up to £750,000 each for extra housing and planning team resources, the Greater London Authority (GLA) said this morning. 

This could be used to hire new staff to lead council housebuilding projects or to develop new masterplans.

The GLA said bids will be considered that:

  • help to deliver new council homes
  • homes for social rented or that are "genuinely affordable homes" on small sites
  • proactive masterplans in areas with significant growth potential
  • optimal density across new residential developments in an area

Bidding for the fund wll open in November. More details on bidding and a prospectus detailing the fund can be found here.

Over the last eight years, central Government cuts have seen council budgets for planning and development fall by 50 per cent in London, according to the GLA.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "London’s housing crisis has been decades in the making and there is no easy solution – but we will only make progress if councils can take a lead in getting new homes built.

"Despite wanting to do far more, councils have been hamstrung by swingeing cuts from government for far too long. 

"My new Homebuilding Capacity Fund won't reverse those cuts - but it will help ambitious councils to enhance their capacity to deliver large-scale new-build programmes."

The GLA said the capacity fund is being funded through London's business rates retention pilot scheme announced at last years’ Autumn Budget.

This sees the capital retain 100 per cent of any increase in business rate receipts above the government’s baseline during the financial year 2018/2019.

Today's announcement comes after the Prime Minister announced earlier this month that the housing revenue account borrowing cap would be lifted to help local authorities build new homes.

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