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Johnson in cheaper homes pledge

17 March 08 16:02 GMT

Boris Johnson will pledge to build 50,000 more affordable homes in London as part of his campaign to become the city's mayor.

The Tory mayoral candidate will also reveal plans to bring more than 84,000 empty homes back into use.

His Labour rival, Ken Livingstone said many of Mr Johnson's pledges had been copied from his own policies.

Mr Johnson will set out his proposals to the Royal Institute of British Architects later.

'Devastating effect'

Mr Johnson will say: "If we are to improve the quality of life for all Londoners then we must do something about the impact housing has on the rising cost of living.

"Affordable housing must be more than 'decent'; it must be desirable."

Boroughs would be helped to provide 50,000 more affordable homes by 2011 and could also have money returned to them by City Hall to spend on bringing derelict council properties back into use.

And the Conservative hopeful will propose tough new planning rules to stop development on the green belt and gardens, encourage small shops and protect views of historic buildings.

But Mr Livingstone insisted that the 50,000 target would be rendered unachievable by Mr Johnson's stated intention to relax a requirement that half of all new housing was affordable.

"There should be no misunderstanding - the core of Boris Johnson's policy is the repeated proposal over several months to abolish the policy that 50% of all new housing should be affordable housing and this will have a devastating effect on Londoners," he said.

The Lib Dem mayoral candidate Brian Paddick said: "The Tory boroughs have been the least cooperative with the current Mayor when it comes to affordable housing."

"Boris's housing ideas are like the rest of his policies: high on headlines but lamentably low on detail."

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