Tory council house plans slammed by Minister

John Healey today became the most senior government minister to criticise secret Tory plans in Hammersmith & Fulham for widescale cuts in social housing. The remarks came after it emerged that £300,000 had been allocated by the council for consultants working on the new policy.

John Healey today became the most senior government minister to criticise the secret Tory plans for widescale cuts in social housing.

3,500 homes are set to be demolished by Tory-run Hammersmith and Fulham council under leader Stephen Greenhalgh’s plans, on estates deemed “not decent”.

The documents, which came to light last week, also suggest limiting social housing to the old, infirm and disabled, and gerrymandering others in need of housing to outside the borough.

Healey, speaking at a Fabian Society event on narrowing the gap between public and private housing, described the policy as being at “the cutting edge of Tory thinking.” He also highlighted the links between David Cameron and Mr Greenhalgh, who heads up the Tory leader’s Conservative Councils Innovation Unit.

Healey said:

“Under these proposals ‘need’ will be based on those earning £80,000 and above; they will end up excluding the poor.”

“One billion pounds will be cut from the housing budget under the Tories, with a further ten per cent cut each year. Simply arguing for individual responsibility and a greater role for charities won’t work. We need an active government – any other prescription lacks credibility.”

The agenda of last night’s Cabinet revealed £100,000 was being requested, “to appoint professional property advisors and procure legal advice.” A further £200,000 would be used for “a transport impact study in assessing the development prospects for the Earl’s Court regeneration project.” (Paper 12, Paragraph 5.2). The money comes from a £900,000 pot of unallocated funds ring-fenced for consultants.

Local MP, Andrew Slaughter, told Left Foot Forward:

“This is money they’ve sat on to pay lawyers and transport consultants for a scheme to demolish estates. It’s like nicking your wallet and hitting you over the head with it. Where are these people going to live?”

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