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.


Slashing investment in homes, threatening recovery

April 21, 2010 at 8:05 am | Posted in London | Comments Off on Slashing investment in homes, threatening recovery
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Last year, Caroline Spelman, Cameron’s Local Government Shadow, wrote to all Tory Councils, urging them to cut the financial ground from under builders by delaying housing building and commercial and business developments.

The Housebuilders Federation have called Tory plans high riskpotentially having “unintended consequences” and posing “significant concerns” for the housebuilding industry and “would lead to a hiatus in planning for housing.”

Spelman told her Tory Councils last year that a Tory government would back them by looking to bring in legislation to “revoke the Regional Spatial Strategies” (which help deliver the new housing) and urged Tory Town Halls,

“Even before primary legislation is passed, local authorities will have the ability to put the brakes on elements of Regional Spatial Strategies which they find undesirable.”

And to back up the threat to builders who start construction on new housing
later blocked by a Tory Government, said:

“We will not pay a penny of compensation.”

Whilst Caroline Spelman tries to block new house building, the Tory Housing Shadow says to The Observer,

“We are unabashed about the need for more housing.”

The Tories are saying one thing and doing another on housing and their plans are high risk and would be a threat to the recovery.

Contempt for council tenants in Kensington & Chelsea

April 21, 2010 at 8:00 am | Posted in London | Comments Off on Contempt for council tenants in Kensington & Chelsea
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In Kensington and Chelsea, a Tory councillor has called council estates “ghettos” which are “full of paranoia”.  He made the comments in a debate on the proposed demolition of a council estate.

In neighbouring Hammersmith and Fulham, Tory contempt for council tenants is clear. A council memo describes council housing as “barracks for the poor” and “warehousing poverty”. Their solution is the end of social housing.

The Tories say one thing but do another.  Their policies are driven by dogma not the needs of the local community.

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