Press Release

What Londoner’s need from the Autumn Statement 2023

Discussing the Londoner’s need from the Autumn Statement 2023, Antonia Jennings, CEO of Centre for London, said:

The Autumn Statement will leave many Londoners desperately wanting more. The announcements that are likely to be made tomorrow will do little to solve the city’s real challenges, and indeed may further entrench our critical levels of inequality.

Support for first-time buyers, such as expanding the mortgage guarantee scheme and increasing the house price limit on a Lifetime ISA is welcome, but will not solve London’s housing crisis on its own. We simply do not have enough homes, and are particularly lacking social and affordable homes – over 300,000 households are on the waiting list for social housing. As a start, the Government should increase its investment in the Affordable Homes Programme, to build more much-needed affordable homes for Londoners.

25% of Londoners live in poverty after paying their housing costs. Tougher benefits rules, such as ensuring benefit claimants who fail to find work for more than 18 months undertake work experience placements, will plunge even more Londoners into poverty. Rather than setting extra criteria for benefits claimants, the Government should focus on ensuring the value of benefits is increased in line with inflation.

Right now, just 2% of homes for rent in London are affordable for a household on housing benefit. Unfreezing the Local Housing Allowance and relinking it to cover the cheapest 30% of homes in an area would help keep Londoners out of poverty.

While Londoners pay an average of 30% more inheritance tax than the rest of the UK, the capital also has the highest levels of child poverty in the country. Reducing inheritance tax rates will only exacerbate existing inequalities in our capital, where the richest and the poorest in our country live side by side.

The Autumn Statement is an opportunity for the Government to make meaningful change. By prioritising the needs of those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis, both within and outside of the capital, the Government could choose to make a real difference. It does not appear that the Government will be choosing to do this on Wednesday.