More contempt for council housing in Barnet

April 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Posted in London | Comments Off on More contempt for council housing in Barnet
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David Cameron said in the third Leaders Debate that he wanted to;

 “Reward councils that go ahead and build homes for families.”

But his councils tell another story entirely.

The Tory Cabinet Member for Housing at ‘no frills’ Barnet Council has said that he was “proud” of Barnet’s housing waiting list and that some people on the list were there as a “lifestyle choice”.  These comments were made at a Full Council meeting on 20 April 2010.  

This is in a borough where figures released by homeless charity Shelter, show that residents waiting for social housing in Barnet have the longest wait in the country.  It has also agreed 2,209 fewer homes than it was asked to deliver and missed its Local Area Agreement targets to deliver affordable homes for rent.

Residents living in Barnet would need to earn around £66,000 per annum to be able to afford to buy an average-priced house in the borough.

The Tory Councils in London are showing their true contempt for social housing.  Hammersmith & Fulham Tories call council housing “barracks for the poor” and “warehousing poverty”.  Tories in neighbouring Kensington & Chelsea call council housing “ghettos”.  The Council is looking at ending secure council tenancies and raising rents to private sector levels four times what they are now. 

Cameron’s Tories are a serious threat to social housing as we know it.


Contempt for council tenants in Hammersmith and Fulham

April 27, 2010 at 8:05 am | Posted in London | Comments Off on Contempt for council tenants in Hammersmith and Fulham
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Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Decent Homes Regeneration Policy is reported to envisage large scale reduction of council homes.

But the Tories complain it is “hard to get rid of people” from their homes.

Their contempt for tenants is clear. A council memo describes council housing as “barracks for the poor” and “warehousing poverty”.

The Tory Leader, Stephen Greenhalgh, Conservative Home’s Local Hero of 2008, has told his Tory colleagues that public housing is an “asset” but which “delivers a risible return”. His solution is the end of social housing:

“To continue building and publicly investing in the “social rent” template which provides tenancies for life with no incentive or requirement to work or to move on which locks investment and people into properties makes no sense.”

The Tory goal is to gain profit from peoples’ homes and drive forward the Conservative philosophy of market rents and scrapping security of tenure, while encouraging expensive, upmarket flats.

Like David Cameron, Stephen Greenhalgh says one thing to the public and another to his Tory colleagues. He told Hammersmith & Fulham tenants in the council newspaper:

“We are giving a cast-iron guarantee that where renewal opportunities arise all council tenants will be offered a permanent home in the area.”

But he told fellow Tories:

“The problems inherent in trying to move households from one property to another when they cease to fulfill a ‘need’ condition would be solved by having just one form of tenancy, modelled on Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)….In almost all cases we would expect the initial term of the AST to be 6 months as is standard in the private rental market.”

Stephen Greenhalgh heads up the Tory Councils Innovation Unit and advises the Cameron team on their future plans.  Putting these plans in across the country would mean that the eight million people in council or housing association homes would see their rents double or triple, be forced to move onto six month tenancies and have their security of tenure cut to a two-month notice to quit.

Watch a video from The Guardian on Hammersmith & Fulham

Information from Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Labour Group, Hammersmith and Fulham.


No to helping the homeless

April 20, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Posted in London | Comments Off on No to helping the homeless
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Grant Shapps, David Cameron’s Housing Shadow says:

“How we combat homelessness is a mark of a civilised society.”

On the other hand, Tory Hammersmith & Fulham closed homeless hostels and Cllr Greg Smith, its Cabinet Member for Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour, told the press that the homeless are a “law and order issue” and banned Crisis from running a Christmas night shelter.

For more on homelessness in Hammersmith and Fulham, read Stephen Cowan here.

52 Tory-run councils have not signed up to free swimming

April 20, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Posted in London, Midlands, Nationwide, North East, North West, South East, South West, Yorkshire and the Humber | Comments Off on 52 Tory-run councils have not signed up to free swimming
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52 Tory-run councils have not signed up to the Government’s scheme to provide free swimming for children and pensioners.

As the Tory Leader of Southampton Council, Alec Samuels says:

“We do not in principle favour ‘free this and free that’, such as swimming or transport, school meals or computers or whatever it is.”

Conservative Councils are choosing not to provide services for dogmatic reasons.


Councils not taking part in the free swimming scheme as of 15 December 2009:

Basingstoke & Deane
East Devon
East Dorset
East Northamptonshire
East Riding of Yorkshire
Forest of Dean
Isle of Wight
Mid Sussex
North Hertfordshire
Nuneaton & Bedworth
South Northamptonshire
South Oxfordshire
Test Valley
Tonbridge & Malling
Tunbridge Wells
West Oxfordshire
West Somerset
Weymouth & Portland

Hiding the truth

April 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Posted in London | Comments Off on Hiding the truth
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The Tories are keen to hide their instincts with PR and the media.  Giving advice to his fellow Tories on how to drive the Tory agenda, Councillor Eddie Lister from Wandsworth explains:

“Successfully managing the PR and the media will be important for
these high key changes which may involve closing schools or shutting down facilities which are well-loved by their users and families. In major cases, a carefully thought out campaign will be needed to win the day.”

The actions of Tory Councils shows the instincts of the Conservative Party
haven’t changed. The difference is they are now a blueprint for a Cameron
Tory government.

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