Labour expected to ‘scrap’ CityWest Homes if elected
Party pledge to radically rethink housing management if they remove Tories from City Hall
23 March, 2018 — By Tom Foot
The Westminster Labour team at this week’s manifesto launch at the Yaa Centre in Little Venice
CITYWEST Homes is expected to be scrapped if Labour triumph in May’s local elections.
Labour’s manifesto, launched this week, sets out how the housing management provider would either be radically reformed or “removed from managing Westminster Council properties” with council housing brought back “in house”.
A housing commission would be set up to “seek to reverse the decline in the activity and autonomy of resident associations”.
Among the first points of the 25-page Labour document A Westminster For All Not The Few, the manifesto states: “If, after consultation with residents, the housing commission review was to recommend closing CityWest Homes and to bring housing management back under direct council control, Labour would do so, if approved by a ballot of CityWest tenants and leaseholders. “Labour will guarantee not to transfer Westminster Council homes to any organisation outside the control of the council.”
CityWest Homes is an Arm’s-length Management Organisation (Almo) that was set up in 2002 under controversial New Labour housing reforms. The Almo manages more than 21,000 properties across the borough.
The CityWest review is one of several housing pledges that would end the programme of buying properties outside West- minster for tenants on the council waiting list.
Another policy is to first market all private homes built on regeneration schemes to “local people”. There will be a review of public land for home building schemes.
There are also pledges to scrap current council policies on homelessness, restore funding to youth clubs and children’s centres, and shake up the planning system.
A Labour council would maintain “low council tax” and keep twice weekly bin collections, the manifesto said.
At the launch on Wednesday, Labour leader Councillor Adam Hug said “we will transform or scrap CityWest Homes”.
In a statement he added: “Westminster Labour have set out an ambitious manifesto that would deliver the council and lower-rent homes we need, reform the planning system, push back against government cuts and help create a cleaner, greener and fairer Westminster.”
The Conservative manifesto is yet to be published.