Then, there is uncertainty about government planning reforms. “I think they have the potential to unlock development but there just isn’t the detail at the moment – it is still a very high-level picture. We are concerned that the promise is of simplification, but the reality might well be more complexity,” said Seager. Inevitably, the role of government was prominent throughout the Big Conversation discussion. Among the initiatives discussed were the ‘Help to Buy’ equity loan scheme, through which the government lends up to 20% of the purchase price (40% in London); and section 106 agreements between developers and local planning authorities on measures the former must take to mitigate the impact of new homes on the local community. Both initiatives’ futures are uncertain. Getty Images “We are looking at how to incentivise builders and developers to deliver better-quality housing. We are also helping to educate and inform people in understanding a building’s green credentials and how to improve them,” he said. Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing executive director of development Guy Burnett pointed out that Section 106 agreements have been crucial for affordable housing. “How will [government] reforms affect this? Will it increase or decrease the amount affordable homes? It’s a bit of a worry,” he said. Lloyds Banking Group’s Andy Mason said: “To move from a ‘D’ to a ‘B’ [Energy Performance Certificate – EPCs] rating can cost about £10,000-£15,000 but savings are typically [just] £300-£400 a year.” Affordable homes are top priority Hattersley pointed out that London itself can often be a challenging environment for housing providers to navigate, saying: “We are big in London – and we are committed to working significantly in London. But I also have demand in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and York – and it’s also easier to work in some of those areas. “I think we need a catalyst to help. The Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme is a really good start, but it finishes in Q1 2021. We need something that will work in the longer term, for example something like a stamp duty rebate if you ‘green’ your property.” The pandemic will inevitably impact everything from government funding to how people want to live and work. But the capital will continue to have a unique set of circumstances. While the escape route from Covid-19 remains uncertain Murad Qureshi offered one reason for politicians to look benignly on construction as they look to drive economic recovery. “In London there are so many issues, it’s like wading through treacle – we have to start addressing those. I think there’s a bit of opportunity now. But it’s a hard one to deliver.” “There’s huge appetite for investment from financial institutions in sustainable infrastructure,” he said. That view was supported by Mark Hattersley, chief financial officer at Clarion Housing Group, who said: “Affordable housing needs funding – there is no magic solution. We have to use the current hiatus to bring key decision-makers together.” More From Our Partners Native American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgI blew off Adam Sandler 22 years ago — and it’s my biggest regretnypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgBiden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comUK teen died on school trip after teachers allegedly refused her pleasnypost.comInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.com‘Neighbor from hell’ faces new charges after scaring off home buyersnypost.comWhy people are finding dryer sheets in their mailboxesnypost.comFeds seized 18 devices from Rudy Giuliani and his employees in April raidnypost.comMatt Gaetz swindled by ‘malicious actors’ in $155K boat sale boondogglenypost.comBill Gates reportedly hoped Jeffrey Epstein would help him win a Nobelnypost.comKiller drone ‘hunted down a human target’ without being told tonypost.com980-foot skyscraper sways in China, prompting panic and evacuationsnypost.com That was the verdict of a roundtable held as part of a UK-wide initiative by Lloyds Banking Group entitled ‘The Big Conversation: Helping Britain Recover’ – a series of virtual events convening policy makers and business leaders. “If we want more affordable housing in London, the state has got to pay for it,” said London First’s Jonathan Seager. But these are challenging times for the public purse, in London and across the country. “So, if the state isn’t stepping up, what role is there for private investment, particularly institutional investment?” he asked. City of London Corporation external affairs director Giles French identified sustainability as one area for optimism. “Part of the challenge is a lack of investable projects – some of the biggest funds in the world are desperate to direct capital towards these sorts of projects. London ought to be as good a place as any to champion and showcase what can be done on that agenda.” “I think you can get a very good sense of satisfaction being involved in producing a unit of housing,” he said. ‘Huge appetite’ for investment in sustainability whatsapp The ‘Rebuilding London – Providing Great Housing For A Great City’ roundtable was held on 6 November, with City AM the exclusive media attendee. It was chaired by Ed Thurman, Lloyds’ group ambassador for London and MD for global transaction banking. ‘The Big Conversation: Helping Britain Recover’ series findings will be published in a report later this year. Building consensus on London’s housing priorities London can be ‘like wading through treacle’ The UK has among the oldest – and least energy efficient – housing stock in Europe. The opportunity surrounding retro-fitting older housing was front of mind for participants. Guy Burnett said that construction was often not an attractive career choice for young people and said that this issue, combined with Covid-19 and Brexit, meant the industry was facing a “very difficult set of circumstances”.More apprentices are required, participants agreed. “There needs to be more done to push and accelerate apprenticeships,” said Hulme. He added: “We also need to ensure we have the right skills to deliver modern methods of construction. We’ll build houses differently in the future, but we have to find solutions that have skillsets alongside them.” But there was also empathy for home-owners struggling to see the financial benefits of investing in ‘green’ measures. Share Hosted by Ed Thurman, the group’s ambassador for London, the ‘Rebuilding London – Providing Great Housing For A Great City’ event highlighted the importance of the capital, and its nine-million strong population, to the UK economy. But it also reflected on how it is increasingly a city of extremes where average house prices are 12 times average incomes and where homelessness has hit record levels. “Housing is one of the best ways of getting shovel-ready projects – they’re much easier to process than, say, transport infrastructure.” “It’s critical that we have skills programmes that are well-funded and targeted because we’re going to need it, more so than we realise. Those programmes will have to be upscaled.” Andy Hulme, Lloyds Banking Group’s managing director for real estate and housing, pointed to the Group’s Green Buildings Tool as something which could help drive sustainability in the sector. Participants in the Big Conversation also emphasised the importance of skills and workforce issues. Given the relatively high proportion of non-British nationals working in construction, the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future relationship with the European Union was a concern, while Hulme said a significant proportion of workers in the sector were approaching retirement age. Sponsored Friday 13 November 2020 9:00 am London requires 1.6 million additional homes by 2041 – about 65,000 new homes annually – of which two-thirds should be affordable, according to City Hall projections. Murad Qureshi AM, London Assembly housing committee chair, said the pace needed to quicken as the current annual rate of build is 52,000, adding “The key issue in London before Covid-19 – and continues to be – the supply of affordable homes.” Finding skills for the future ‘Shovel-ready’ projects? Look no further However, Murad Qureshi pinpointed retrofitting as offering opportunities for job creation, as well as energy efficiency. “Politicians have mixed views on Help to Buy. But it has definitely helped with the deposit challenge, in particular the London scheme,” said Lloyds’ head of customer development for mortgages, Andy Mason. He added that he was interested in how the Shared Ownership scheme – although more effective in London than elsewhere in the country to date – could be “transformed” to help people onto the housing ladder. Show Comments ▼ The housing market has the potential to play a significant role in the UK’s economic and social recovery from the pandemic – but housing in London faces a mounting number of challenges and uncertainties in doing so.