Boris Johnson and three London councils have accused housing minister Margaret Beckett of blowing a half-a-billion-pound hole in London’s housing budget, leading to the loss of 6,000 planned homes

In a letter seen by Building, the London mayor and the chief executives of Lambeth, Islington and Bromley councils accuse Beckett of “repatriating” three-quarters (£450m) of the £600m promised to the capital following the failure of an initiative to build social housing on London’s fringes.

The mayor wrote: “I expect you will appreciate that the loss of almost half-a-billion pounds from London’s affordable housing programme will do irrevocable and long-term damage in this extremely difficult time.”

The £600m Growth Support (Affordable Housing) Fund was established to encourage councils just outside the capital to build homes.

At the time, the communities department promised that “in the event that suitable bids are not forthcoming, the remaining funding will be added to the London part of the National Affordable Housing Programme”.

Following a meeting on 27 April, Beckett reportedly told Richard Blakeway, the mayor’s director of housing, that only £150m was to be given to the capital.