Theresa May is facing stiff pressure to do more to tackle the housing crisis and she herself has acknowledged it as a major barrier to social mobility. In a recent speech, the Prime Minister suggested a more innovative approach, coupled with a united effort by central and local governments, the private sectors and local communities, could provide a solution.
Our launch event for the Vibrant Capital campaign picked up on similar themes, highlighting London’s strong community vibe, and the importance of maintaining and building strong diverse communities. Guests at the campaign launch also observed the changing landscape in London (echoed across the UK), as we see an increasingly flexible approach to working and the migration of many stores and services online. This has led to redundant retail space, which Theresa May suggested could be ideal for residential redevelopment. This could be an effective strategy to protect local communities, helping to fulfil a clear need for fresh ideas and policies that allow communities to make the most of their limited resources and drive change.
Grant Thornton is fully on board to support the Government’s initiatives to increase housing supply and we have launched a number of initiatives, including the Grant Thornton Housing Enquiry and Vibrant Capital, to create momentum. We agree with Mrs May that key to achieving the necessary change is a collaborative approach between Government, Councils and developers, acting together for the needs of local communities.
In a 25-minute speech to the Royal Town Planning Institute conference, May described what she called a broken housing market and a resultant loss of social mobility and community, with younger people justifiably angry at being excluded, increased exploitation of renters and a problem of rough sleeping. Overcoming this required a united effort, she continued. “It’s so important, not just for individuals, and for that British dream, but for communities, and people’s stake in the communities, that they’re able to feel that they do have a home of their own.