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Pickles rules out cap on sales of London homes to foreign buyers

A campaign by Simon Hughes MP for restrictions on the purchase of new-build properties in central London by overseas investors suffered a blow when communities secretary Eric Pickles ruled out Government intervention.

Simon Hughes MP
Simon Hughes outside Southside in Union Street which has been marketed in the far east

The Bermondsey & Old Southwark Lib Dem MP raised the issue in the House of Commons in June and has continued to urge the Government to act to ensure that more new London homes are available to local buyers.

This week he told Property Week: "If we had enough affordable housing, bluntly, nobody would bother two hoots that people in Singapore were buying luxury flats in Mayfair because that would be icing on the cake.

"But at the moment they're buying the cake."

Many new developments in north Southwark – including One Tower Bridge, South Bank Tower, Southside and others – have been marketed extensively in the far east.

This week Tory communities secretary Eric Pickles told Iain Dale on LBC 97.3 that any regulation of the sale of London property "would a very big deal".

The minister said: "That would be something quite enormous in terms of state intervention in terms of who can buy a property.

"I'm more concerned about getting affordable housing into London."

Asked to define affordable housing, Mr Pickles replied: "Not luxury apartments, that's what it means."

Pressed as to whether he would rule out any restriction on the purchase of London property, the minister said: "Yes, I think I probably would.

"I think it would be a nightmare to try to be able to do that.

"You certainly couldn't do it for European citizens and I think it would be dubious in terms of anybody else."

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