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Bill to open up land grab

University College Hospital, London: the capital’s hospitals occupy many top sites. Photo Workers

An amendment to the Infrastructure Bill going through parliament will allow Boris Johnson or his successor as Mayor of London to acquire land held by all public bodies in London. The prime target for this land grab will be the estates of NHS properties in London estimated as being worth over £50 million.

Great concern has been expressed in NHS circles as to what happens to the assets, especially the financial assets released from merger, streamlining and rationalising of NHS provision. Does it go back into the NHS? Will the Treasury reclaim it? The mayor’s office sees the chance of a quick kill.

But all public land assets held by local authorities, hospitals, schools etc will be at risk as services are rationalised because of public spending cuts or are outsourced to charities and non-profit organisations. The land grab will then result in public assets being sold off to developers in a speculators’ frenzy.              ■