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Islington Council challenges ‘affordable rent’ plan by Mayor of London at the High Court

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:07 13 March 2014

Islington Council and eight other local authorities are at the High Court today to challenge the Mayor of London’s bid to increase the rates of ‘affordable rents’.

Under the changes announced by Boris Johnson, new ‘affordable’ homes could charge rents of up to 80 per cent of the market rate.

Islington has teamed up with Brent, Camden, Enfield, Greenwich, Lambeth, Southwark, Hackney and Tower Hamlets to halt Revised Early Minor Alterations (REMA) proposals which are part of the London Plan.

The boroughs will argue that the new rents will be unaffordable for many local people and the Mayor of London was wrong to treat London as a single housing market, when there are in fact many different housing markets across the city.

Cllr James Murray, executive member for housing and development for Islington Council, which is leading the legal challenge on behalf of the boroughs, said: “Across London, we need to keep rents down in new affordable housing so that people on low incomes can actually afford it.

“That’s why our nine boroughs are challenging the Mayor’s decision to let rents in new affordable housing rise to near-market levels. We believe councils should be able to cap rents at lower levels so that the new homes are genuinely affordable.

“The Mayor’s plan would price many local people, especially families on low and medium incomes and vulnerable people, out of large areas of London. It is totally wrong for our city.”

The Mayor’s plans runs contrary to the advice of an independent Government-appointed Planning Inspector, who recommended that boroughs should keep their powers to set rents in new affordable housing.

Existing council tenancies and the majority of housing association tenancies will be unaffected.

The case will be heard by the High Court over two days.

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