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London’s Housing Crisis – how business can intervene

Natasha Ryan, Campaigns Manager

I attended an event last week hosted by the Cabinet Office Business Partnerships Team and the Whitehall & Industry Group, with London First and employers Deloitte, Starbucks and Golin sharing how they have implemented policies to help their employees in the private rented sector. My colleague Naomi Smith, Executive Director of Campaigns spoke to businesses and Government about initiatives alleviating housing costs for employees.

As recognised by our Fifty Thousand Homes campaign, average monthly rents have soared to £1,714. Shockingly, 20% of Londoners surveyed have had to borrow to cover their deposit, and 58% of private renters in work have struggled to pay rent. Employers are feeling the effects: 7 in 10 report that they are concerned about the impact of London’s housing costs on their staff recruitment and retention.

In tackling the difficulty posed by the housing crisis, Deloitte outlined their offer to graduates of discounted rental accommodation and Golin provide interns with free accommodation for the duration of their internship. Starbucks have recently extended their Home Sweet Loan tenancy deposit loan to employees who have been in employment with Starbucks for six months (previously a year), and plans to offer the scheme to all employees are underway.

Employers wanting to take action to assist their staff can sign our Employer Housing Pledges, introducing a range of initiatives, such as paying the London Living Wage, offering a season ticket loan, offering housing advice and the tenancy deposit scheme or a different financial initiative. Signing is free, and signatories include Heathrow Airport, Westfield, Arup and many more, covering 130,000 working Londoners. For more information, please contact nryan@londonfirst.co.uk.

The following companies were represented at the event:

DCLG, HMRC, Legal & General, EY, Lloyds Banking Group, KPMG, GLA, Young Foundation, Westminster City Council, Centrica, RICS, CBI, BEIS, Simmons&Simmons, Lush, UK Export Finance, Nationwide, Kingfisher, DexEU, Capgemini, XSH, Mill Group

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