News: Sweeping powers handed to Londons mayor

New housing powers have been handed to the mayor of London through transfer of the regional housing board to Greater London Authority control.

The announcement Thursday from the Department for Communities and Local Government is part of a wide-ranging devolution package following consultation late last year.

As well as new lead roles on housing the package gives the mayor powers over adult skills in London; a strengthened role over planning in the capital; and additional strategic powers in a wide range of policy areas including waste, culture and sport, health, climate change and appointments to the boards of the functional bodies.

Currently the mayor only has the power to refuse strategic planning applications already agreed by the boroughs but the new powers allow him to approve applications directly.

The package also enhances the ability of the London Assembly to scrutinise the activities of the mayor.

Further options for devolution across England will be unveiled as part of the Local Government White Paper due to be published later this year.

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