Mayoral Taskforce calls for urgent construction investment in London

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for significant government funding to support affordable homes, as well as increased investment in precision manufactured and modular housing.

The focus should be on technology, skills and career opportunities to support the construction jobs of the future.

The recommendations are part of the final report from Deputy Mayor Tom Copley’s ‘Covid-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce’, bringing together London builders, councils, housing associations and unions.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The work of London’s Covid-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce has been collaborative, comprehensive and timely. Building the social and other genuinely affordable homes Londoners need has always been my top priority but the pandemic has challenged that ambition like nothing before.

“Now we have a unique opportunity to reboot the London housing sector. This roadmap to recovery builds on the skills, expertise and experience we have whilst investing in the latest technology and training to maintain our world-leading workforce.

“The housing industry is speaking with one voice and its message is clear. Now Ministers must listen and support our recommendations so we can emerge from this crisis with improved resilience, a greater sense of co-operation and a new-found resolve to deliver the genuinely affordable homes that London so desperately needs.”

The Taskforce includes representatives from the Greater London Authority, Home Builders Federation and National Housing Federation.

Research by Shelter and Savills has predicted that up to 244,000 constructions jobs could be lost across the country in a year, and 300,000 fewer homes will be built over five years, unless the government invests in social housing.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “It has been a privilege to be part of the Mayor’s Housing Delivery Taskforce, examining what needs to be done to put housing at the heart of the country’s recovery from coronavirus.

“Investing in housing is one of the most important steps the government can take to help get the economy moving again.

“As well as being the right thing to do, putting money into new social housing always pays dividends through support for jobs, businesses and the wider economy.

“Indeed, building the 90,000 new social homes this country needs every year would add £4.8bn to the economy and support 86,000 jobs. This is why it’s vital that the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t get in the way of tackling the housing crisis.”

A 2019 industry survey found 330,000 Londoners worked in construction and the sector accounted for 5% of the capital’s economic output.

Some 37% of construction workers in London are self-employed. Analysis by the estate agents Savills estimates that the coronavirus has led to construction being halted on sites involving 28,600 homes in London, equivalent to 79% of total supply in 2018/19.