National pay scales for public workers should be replaced by regional rates to give essential staff in London a minimum weighting of £4,000 a year, according to a new report.
A study by London First, a business-led partnership, designed to find solutions for the capital's growing shortage of affordable homes, also calls for people earning less than £35,000 annually to be eligible for social housing, and for private employers to provide rental guarantees for staff.
To provide houses more quickly, it says, private developers, rather than government supported housing associations, should be allowed to build “affordable” units with cash from the Housing Corporation, the quango which funds social housing.
With house building at the lowest level since 1924, down to 21,000 houses a year, the report warns that London's position as the driver of the British economy will be threatened unless planning is speeded up and money put into recycling brownfield land.
By 2016, London's population will have risen by 700,000 to more than 8 million. With house prices up 115% since 1995 to an average of £205,800, workers needed to be earning £55,000 a year to qualify for a mortgage.
Yet council house sales had left 175,000 fewer social homes available for rent. Priced out of the market, it is estimated 60,000 essential workers will leave the capital over the next 10 years.