In a bid to support talent across London meet their basic housing needs, the cost of which can be onerous on low and entry level pay, Fifty Thousand Homes recently launched a pledge for businesses and organisations to support staff with their housing challenges. A number of professional services firms, including Grant Thornton, Arup and Mace, have signed up to the pledge.
The capital has, in recent years, developed a considerable housing deficit. One estimate from research by Fifty Thousand Homes – a collaboration between businesses in the city – shows that the shortfall has increased from 46,000 in 2010 to more than 210,000 last year. The housing crisis in London has reached new heights, with the city now one of the world’s most expensive places to transfer staff for businesses.
The consequences of the shortfall is that a range of businesses and startups are hamstrung when it comes to attracting talent. The creative, tech, retail and hospitality industries, according to the organisations, have housing shortfalls for the staff in the order of 150,000.
Fifty Thousand Homes campaign
One of the organisations seeking to create an improved situation for staff across London is the ‘Fifty Thousand Homes’ campaign. The campaign recently launched a number of pledges for businesses and organisations across the capital, the pledges range across a range of staff benefits, from a Living Wage for all staff and offering direct financial support, such as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, to developing flexible working and providing guidance and advice to employees experiencing housing difficulty.
To support the efforts of the programme, and lead the way for business and organisations across the city, the Major of London has signed all the pledges on behalf of a range of civic organisations, including 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.
A number of professional services too have so far signed up to the Fifty Thousand Homes pledges, including Optimity, Arup, Mace Group and Grant Thornton.
Aside from alleviating conditions on workers, the Major has secured £3.15 billion in funding from the UK Government, as well as opening up planning laws, thereby creating the conditions to add 90,000 new homes to the city’s stock in the coming years.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says, “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. 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.”
Robert Hannah, Chief Operating Officer at Grant Thornton, one of the companies to sign up, remarks, “Solving London’s housing crisis could unlock economic growth in the capital by helping businesses keep hold of the skilled people they need, as well as addressing some of the issues around social integration that are becoming more apparent. It is only through collaboration that we will be able to tackle the growing problem of housing in London and as a large employer of people in London, we want to take our share of that responsibility.”