- Available in: PDF
- Published: April 20, 2017
The upcoming mayoral elections in six city regions will usher in a new era for devolution in England. Across the country many voters will have their first chance to elect a mayor, who will subsequently have a mandate to set priorities and shape local policies. Alongside new powers over local growth, transport and public services, the new mayoral combined authorities will also have powers and funding over housing and planning.
If the mayoral races in London are replicated elsewhere then housing is likely to be a top priority for voters and a central policy area for the new metro mayors. The combined authorities are largely city-region based, and although housing costs are not as high as in the capital, they face growing pressures on availability and affordability, long waiting lists for social housing, declining homeownership rates, rising homelessness and growing and ageing populations. The challenges are made more difficult still when set against the backdrop of cuts to local authority budgets, reduced funding for housing (notably capital and revenue spending on social housing), and welfare reforms. But what will change in the new mayoral combined authorities in respect of housing and place-making? What can be achieved under the existing settlements (including powers to coordinate) and what new policies, flexibilities and funding will be required to meet the ambitious plans combined authorities (and their Local Enterprise Partnerships) have already outlined? And what does this mean for areas which fall outside the new mayoral combined authorities, will they receive relatively fewer resources and have less autonomy over local housing issues?
In this talking points publication we begin by setting the scene of where housing sits within the new devolution settlements and relationships between local and national government. We then explore the housing challenges metro mayors will face and what could be achieved under the existing settlements, as well as what devolution might mean for those areas not included. The report concludes by highlighting areas where further devolution may be needed and asks some key questions about the challenges the metro mayors will face in realising their housing and growth ambitions.