Capital punishment

Who should have the final say on planning applications and housing funding in London? It seems a simple question but the answer is developing into a spat between the mayor, Ken Livingstone, and the London boroughs represented by the Association of London Government (ALG) that could have a major impact on affordable homes in the capital.

Ever since the abolition of the GLC the decisions have been made in Whitehall but in August communities secretary Ruth Kelly announced consultation on devolving powers to Livingstone and the Greater London Authority.

Not fair, says the ALG in a campaign against the new powers it calls ‘not only controversial’ but ‘a real threat to local democracy’. Yesterday it also claimed the support of Londoners in a new poll.

Nonsense, says Ken. Since when is devolution anti-democratic? Oh, and what about this letter from the leader of the ALG Labour group backing the transfer of housing powers.