Conservative Members on the London Assembly yesterday blocked attempts to stop the Mayor’s changes to the London Plan. The Mayor’s changes will mean new ‘affordable’ housing being set at up to 80 per cent of the market rate in London. This will lead to many new properties in London meant for people on low and modest incomes becoming totally unaffordable.
This had been an historic opportunity for the Assembly to reject a Mayoral strategy if a two-thirds majority can be secured. It was the first time new powers granted to the Assembly under the Localism Act could be used.
We weren’t saying that the Mayor shouldn’t be able to change the London Plan – we were saying that the Mayor should take an opportunity to reconsider the issues, taking into account the views of local authorities, the Assembly Planning Committee, and the independent inspector.
Unfortunately, the Tory side waved through these changes, despite the obvious reservations held by some of their members.
Yesterday’s vote is a hammer blow and signals the death of new truly affordable housing in London. It is a complete travesty that the Conservatives on the Assembly have supported Boris’ reckless changes. London boroughs of all political persuasions are against the Mayor’s plan.
Conservative members of the Assembly have chosen to please the Mayor ahead of listening to the wishes of their local councils and against the best interests of their constituents. Staggeringly, four of the nine Members that voted in support of the Mayor actually sit on Councils that have written to the Mayor to oppose the policy – yet they have today sided with the Mayor and supported his policies.
The Mayor’s changes will make London’s housing crisis even worse. They will now push affordable housing out of the reach of many Londoners on low, and in some areas, modest incomes. This will also drive up rent, increase land prices and further distort London’s housing market. Boris should have accepted the recommendations of the Independent Planning Inspector, listened to local authorities and revised his London Plan.
Combined with the welfare reforms the Mayor’s changes will make huge swathes of inner London even more unaffordable than they already are. Today’s vote will contribute to the ghettoization of our city and put intolerable strain on a range of already overburdened local services in outer London. They have effectively given up on ordinary Londoners on modest incomes by making it harder for them to find a home that is affordable.”
The changes mean that properties rented out at the new 80% level would mean for a:
– 3 bedroom flat in Camden a family would have to earn £78,743 to rent an ‘affordable home, the median family income in Camden is £33,000
– 2 bedroom flat in Westminster need a household income of £80,000 – the median is £40,000
– 3 bedroom flat in Islington need a household income of £83,497, the median is £31,000