Deal or no deal
IN a discussion about what form a coalition in Camden might take if the local elections fail to produce a winner, the Labour Party was the only group which is ready to rule out a deal. Deputy leader Jonathan Simpson said there was no prospect of him and his team ever working with councillors from other parties that endorse the sale of council homes.
Given their current status as the opposition in Camden and with perhaps the most to do on polling day, that’s a bold pledge. Fighting talk. It will certainly be hard to step back from that position if they earn a place in the negotiations should no one party win outright on May 6. There’s another batch of Camden council homes going under the hammer next week and neither the Lib Dems and the Conservatives look to be tearing up the sell-off policy just yet. In fact, they say they won’t until the Labour government provides sufficient investment to refurbish Camden’s homes.
This is an under the radar major election issue. It is Tory policy not only to sell off council homes but also to abolish ‘secure tenancy’ and bring ‘rents’ up to market prices.
If you want to see Tory housing policy in action see Steven Greenhalgh in Hammersmith and Fulham.
When we first moved to Camden, the market rent on our Housing Association one bed flat was £185 per week. Next door, exactly same council property was £65 a week. That was 1996-97.
A Tory government will not only sell off council properties. It will triple rents too.
As one Conservative said to me “The wrong kind of people are living in our kind of neighbourhood – we’ll price them out of the area.”
There are also civil service proposals to abolish Housing Benefit. London will cease to function with all rents set at a bloated ‘market’ rent.