London firms urged to help employees with housing costs

Bosses are being urged to help employees with housing costs in London by helping to cover tenancy deposits.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has signed up the Greater London Authority to pledges from campaign group Fifty Thousand Homes to help workers cope with soaring housing costs.

Employers can pledge to pay the London Living Wage as well as offering financial support such as tenancy deposit loans, which is being offered to GLA staff.

The GLA encompasses City Hall, Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, the London Fire Brigade, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation.

Other businesses have also signed up such asOptimity, Arup, Mace Group and Grant Thornton UK – and the Mayor called on businesses across London to follow suit.

Khan said: “It is unacceptable that so many hard-working Londoners continue to be priced out of their own city – it is bad for Londoners and bad for the future economic success of the capital.

“I am determined to tackle the housing crisis head on and I will be using my new planning rules and my record funding deal with government to build new affordable homes to rent and buy.

“We know that building new homes to tackle the housing crisis won’t happen overnight – it’s a marathon, not a sprint – but in the meanwhile we need to do whatever we can to help Londoners struggling to meet the soaring cost of housing.

“That’s why I am pleased to announce City Hall and the entire GLA family is now committed to offering tenancy deposit loans to staff, and I would urge all London businesses to sign the Employers’ Pledge on housing too. We must do all we can to retain and attract the best talent in our capital and to make sure we remain a city for all Londoners.”

Meanwhile, Khan has used controversial planning call-in powers for the first time since he was elected to take over two major applications in the capital.
City Hall has taken over planning applications for affordable housing projects in Haringey and Harrow after they were rejected by their respective council planning committees against the advice of the planning department.

Haringey Council had rejected an application for up to 505 homes including a 21-storey tower at Hale Wharf in Tottenham, over concerns that it would be too tall and would adversely impact Green Belt land. An application for 186 homes in Palmerston Road in Wealdstone was also rejected by Harrow Council, as the 17-storey development was deemed too high.

City Hall planners will now work with the respective developers to protect the Green Belt from development at Hale Wharf and look to secure as much affordable housing as possible at both sites.

Khan said: “These developments have the potential to bring real benefits as part of the wider regeneration of Tottenham Hale and Wealdstone, including hundreds of genuinely affordable new homes. However, each proposal needs work if they are to realise that potential.

“I have asked my planning team to work with both local authorities to bring forward revised proposals that could produce better schemes that will protect the Green Belt from development and will deliver much-needed affordable housing.”

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