Encouraging more small builders into the construction market is one of the key ways of addressing the housing crisis, Councillor Ravi Govindia told the Conservative Party conference today.
The Leader of the London Borough of Wandsworth was representing London Councils at the fringe event in Manchester.
London needs to build hundreds of thousands of homes over the next decade to keep pace not only with the existing backlog but also London’s growing population, which is estimated to top over nine million by 2021, she explained. Adding that supporting more small businesses into the market, for instance through the tax system, could help create more homes.
“London’s boroughs support developers both large and small, but it’s frankly astonishing that just 27 companies are responsible for around 70 per cent of the housing starts in London,” said Councillor Govindia.
“Just 20 years ago around two thirds of housing was built by companies employing fewer than 500 people. Encouraging more small businesses into the market would change this and so deliver more homes.”
London Councils says that the contribution of small housebuilders to overall housing supply could be increased if there were more flexibility in small builders’ payments of the Community Infrastructure Levy, for example, by it being paid on completion of a development or within six months of a property sale.
The proposal is one of several outlined in London Councils’ discussion paper for the party conference season. Other policy options include lifting restrictions on councils borrowing against their assets.