Rebuilding London: providing great housing for a great city
As part of The Big Conversation, we ran a series of virtual events to explore the best road to recovery for regions across the UK.
On 6 November 2020, policy makers and housing experts from London gathered as part of Lloyds Banking Group’s Big Conversation to discuss the challenges, opportunities and critical areas of support needed to make the housing market accessible to everyone, and ensure the housing sector can a play a central part in recovery in the country’s capital.
The key issues discussed were:
- A lack of affordable housing is a major issue for the city and prohibiting recovery.
- The impact of the pandemic on work and life trends poses new challenges.
- Retrofitting can help reduce household and fuel poverty but there is a lack of skills and infrastructure to support delivery.
- Financial support and streamlining the planning process can help first-time buyers.
- Equity releases and other instruments can incentivise retrofitting among homeowners.
- Investment in skills and training will help fill talent shortages and support more innovative house-building approaches.
Ed Thurman, Lloyds Banking Group, Ambassador for London
Murad Qureshi AM, Member of London Assembly
Andy Hulme, Lloyds Banking Group, Managing Director, Real Estate and Housing
Andy Mason, Lloyds Banking Group, Head of Customer Development, Mortgages
Bob Williams, Fairview New Homes, Finance Director
Giles French, City of London Corporation, External Affairs Director
Guy Burnett, Thames Valley Housing Association, Development Director
Ian Hall, City AM, Journalist
Jonathan Seager, London First, Executive Director, Place
Jordan Cummins, CBI, Head of Policy - London
Margaret Edwards, Housing LIN, London Regional Chair
Mark Hattersley, Clarion Housing Group, Chief Financial Officer
Watch the event highlights
Challenges and opportunities
A lack of affordable housing is a major issue for the city and prohibiting recovery.
- 1.6m homes need to be built by 2041 to meet demand but the rate of construction is behind schedule. More affordable housing would bring jobs and also stimulate recovery.
- People currently struggle to afford mortgages to buy their house due to salaries being too low compared to house prices.
The impact of the pandemic on work and life trends poses new challenges to the market.
- Reduction in office use and lifestyle changes due to remote working is causing disruption to the market and housing associations will need to adapt.
- Many London homes are overcrowded and are now under greater stress, but planning restrictions prevent adaptation.
Retrofitting can help reduce household and fuel poverty but there is a lack of skills and infrastructure to support delivery.
- There is currently a lack of incentives and infrastructure to support the expansion of retrofitting.
- A lack of young workers in the industry and the impact of Brexit on EU workers means the workforce will require new talent and skills.
"You won’t be able to get the economy going unless you get London going again, and housing is one of the best ways to achieve this."
Murad Qureshi, Member of London Assembly
Solutions to support housing growth
Financial support and streamlining the planning process can help first-time buyers.
- Introducing a government-backed mortgage guarantee for high loan-to-value lending as a replacement for the Help-to-Buy Scheme, allowing conditional early access to pensions, extolling Shared Ownership, and extending the stamp duty holiday can help affordability.
- Taking a more risk-based approach on EWS1 assessment can help accelerate the planning process and the market overall.
"We need to push and accelerate apprenticeships to get people into the trade and ensure we have the skills for advanced construction."
Andy Hulme, Lloyds Banking Group
Equity releases and other instruments can incentivise retrofitting among homeowners.
- Early access to equity tied up in houses, green mortgages and extending the Green Homes Grant can empower homeowners to uptake retrofitting.
Investment in skills and training will help fill talent-shortages and support more innovative house-building approaches.
- Fostering partnerships between businesses and education providers can help to identify and fill skills shortages.
- Incentivising businesses to take on apprentices is critical in ensuring the workforce has the skills to support at-scale building and multi-generational retrofitting.