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Hackney attacks Pickles for Parliamentary blunder

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The communities secretary has been forced to issue a ‘letter of correction’ to Parliament after wrongly naming Hackney LBC as the  worst planning authority in England.

Eric Pickles submitted the correction last week after the east London borough’s mayor Jules Pipe (Lab) wrote to the minister, demanding an apology and a public retraction.

“Councils up and down the country are struggling not only with the scale and profile of cuts from your department over recent years but also with the uncertainty that seems to attach itself to practically every announcement made by this government, a situation which I fear may be compounded by [Monday’s] announcement in the House of Commons,” he wrote.

Mr Pickles wrongly name checked the east London borough in Parliament last week in response to a request for evidence of poor performance in planning  authorities from his Labour counterpart in Parliament.

 “I am very happy to name the worst, which is Hackney,” Mr Pickles told Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary.

Mr Pickles later issued a letter of correction to Parliament, which changed the name of the worst offender to Haringey LBC.

Mr Pipe described Mr Pickles’ “unwarranted attack” as the “latest contribution to the government’s omnishambles”.

“We are not in the top ten list of slowest decision makers for major or minor applications against the national targets, not on the list of the 25 most overruled decision makers and nor are we on the list of the 25 slowest decision makers for major applications within 26 weeks,” Mr Pipe wrote.

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