London Assembly members will today vote on whether to block changes to the London Plan, the Mayor’s planning and development framework for the capital.
Among the changes is a proposal to define ‘affordable’ housing at up to 80 per cent of the market rate in London.
Critics claim the change would see many properties become unaffordable to those on low and modest incomes, and would remove the freedom of local councils to set their own affordable rent levels.
Today’s vote is the first time the Assembly will have the opportunity to reject a Mayoral strategy using new powers granted to it under the Localism Act.
For the strategy to be blocked, two-thirds of Assembly Members must vote against it.
Labour’s Planning spokesperson, Nicky Gavron AM, says the changes “will push affordable housing out of the reach of the many Londoners on low, and in some areas, modest incomes.”
She added: “Combined with the welfare reforms, the Mayor’s changes will make huge swathes of inner London even more unaffordable. Unless the Assembly can prevent this, it will ghettoise the city and put intolerable strain on a range of already overburdened local services in outer London.”
The change is also apposed by City Hall’s Green group who claim a blanket 80% rate would see families in Westminster needing to earn £150,000 a year before they could afford an “affordable” rent.
Jenny Jones AM said: “The Mayor’s policies are a recipe for higher rents and a higher benefit bill. He wants to block boroughs from negotiating lower rents because that might mean fewer homes are built. But what is the point of building more homes that are totally unaffordable?
“The Mayor should focus on securing a £1bn a year budget for low rent social homes, investing today to reduce the benefit bill for years to come and provide homes for the people who keep London going.”
The meeting will take place Today (Tuesday, 3 September) from 3.30pm in The Chamber at City Hall.