Planning 'spoke the language of money' under Johnson's London mayoralty

A claim that the Prime Minister's time as mayor of London led to a situation where "the only language London planning talked was money" features in today's newspaper round-up.

Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins asks: "Twenty years on, what has having a mayor done for London?" Writing about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's time as London mayor, he says: "Johnson showed no intellectual engagement with the job, delegating his limited planning powers to his deputy, Sir Edward Lister, friendliest of friends to London's property barons. Having pledged not to create 'Dubai-on-Thames', the two men left London the only European capital with no discipline whatsoever over its skyline. The only language London planning talked was money."

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that construction activity in the UK "collapsed last month". The paper says that the IHS Markit/Cips purchasing managers' index for UK construction "dropped from 39.3 in March to 8.2 in April, the lowest level since the survey began in 1997. A reading below 50 indicates the majority of businesses reported a fall in activity compared with the previous month."

The Times (subscription) reports that the UK population "rose to almost 66.8 million last year, though the lowest number of births for 14 years helped to slow the increase, according to official figures published yesterday". The paper says that "immigration was the big driver behind a 361,000 rise in the population to the end of last June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed".

The Times reports that the mayor of London Sadiq Khan has "signalled a long-term shift away from the car in the capital". The paper says that "Khan said that a new programme of traffic-free roads, dedicated cycle lanes and wider pavements would be introduced to promote green travel. He said that London's streets would be repurposed initially to allow more people to exercise and travel while maintaining social distancing." It was also announced "that the temporary schemes would be reviewed and could be turned into a permanent feature", the paper adds.

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