The meeting, which brought together leaders from across the UK, served as an invaluable opportunity to reflect on the past year, share knowledge and discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our cities today. Above all, it reiterated the need for more devolved powers, greater flexibility in government funding and transparency in funding allocations.
A central theme of the meeting was the ongoing challenge of providing quality and affordable housing. Kelvin MacDonald, a Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing, Communities Select Committee and House of Lords Built Environment Committee, led a discussion on policy, regulations and funding.
One of the key takeaways was the need for greater clarity: on the Government’s target of building 300,000 affordable homes; on definition of affordable housing itself, and appropriate circumstances for utilising the right to buy policy. Despite significant ongoing challenges – namely overstretched planning departments and an acute lack of funding – it is clear that Key Cities recognise the importance of quality and affordable housing as a basic human right.
Through the AGM, we solidified our dedication to delivering prosperity, protecting the environment and raising standards of living across the UK. And we will continue to work together as a network to press central Government for increased funding and the devolution of powers, allowing for the provision of much-needed housing for people living in our cities up and down the country.