Open Letter

Open letter to the Rt Hon Michael Gove on London’s Housing Crisis

Centre for London and the G15 have coordinated an open letter to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Rt Hon Michael Gove, providing solutions to the housebuilding crisis facing London. The full text is below. 

Dear Michael Gove,

Centre for London is the capital’s independent think tank, focused on tackling London’s biggest challenges, including housing. Along with the undersigned, we are writing in response to your recent comments on the housing crisis.

We welcome your call to ensure the Renters Reform Bill is passed through Parliament this year, as well as your commitment to end no-fault evictions. Additionally, reform that accelerates building on brownfield sites is necessary. However, an expansion of capacity to deliver homes by 11% does not meet the scale of need. Your recent interventions do not go far enough to address what, by your own admission, is a broken system. The issues plaguing the current housing market go back decades and have been entrenched by short-term fixes.

Despite the crisis facing Londoners, the Government has failed to step up and invest in the delivery of social housing. Insufficient sustainable funding, among many structural issues, is a critical reason why housing is in crisis in our capital city.

After housing costs are accounted for, 1 in 4 Londoners live in poverty. The building of new homes in the capital is grinding to a halt. Data from the G15 – a group of London’s leading housing associations – show they are expected to start building 1,769 affordable homes in London this year, compared to 7,363 last year. This is a 76% drop. More widely, the data also shows that these associations have cut development in and outside London from 14,658 units a year, to 6,387 in 2024.

Only 35% of planned new homes are in London, compared to 70% of new starts last year. Housing is the leading contributor to the city’s other key challenges – from poor public health and the climate crisis, to growing inequality and the city’s flatlining productivity rate.

Housing should therefore be treated as the essential infrastructure that it is. Just like the railway network and the electricity grid, homes are the backbone of the economy and make economic growth possible. Specifically, we are calling on the government to:

  • Increase government investment in social housing, building 90,000 social homes a year across England, including 30,000 in London. £15.1 billion a year should be committed to the Affordable Homes Programme, using 10-year terms to provide investment stability.
  • Work with the Mayor of London to set up Development Corporations to build on strategically defined areas of the Green Belt, compensating for any loss of nature. One estimate suggests that nearly 900,000 new homes could be accommodated on just 25,000 hectares of Green Belt land within walking distance of train stations well-connected to central London.
  • End the short-termism that has dominated housing policy by creating an expert body, the Affordable Housing Commission, to set housebuilding targets aligned with the best evidence and to hold government accountable to delivering them.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Chair, G15, on behalf of the G15 group and CEO, L&Q

Antonia Jennings, CEO, Centre for London


Centre for London has produced reports on various aspects of the Housing Crisis. Read our research below:

Homes fit for Londoners: Solving London’s Housing crisis

Homes fit for Londoners: London’s homes today

Licence to Let: How property licencing could Better protect private renters

Temporary Accommodation: London’s hidden homelessness crisis