The independent London newspaper

Social housing has a purpose

05 April, 2019

• READERS of Westminster Extra should probably be well advised not to get the bunting to celebrate the apparent burst of democracy shown by the decision by Westminster City to abolish CityWest Homes and bring all its social housing back in-house, (Housing back with the city, March 29).

One major feature that is missing and will undoubtedly will remain so, is any commitment to revive what used to be Westminster’s housing department. Something else that will be constant is the hollowing out of social housing residents on the city council’s estates. This is being done primarily by flogging off flats and houses in this category.

It should be remembered just what the purpose of social housing is. That purpose is not to provide cash for the city’s coffers. Nor to finally achieve Shirley Porter’s ambition of making Westminster completely safe for Conservative control, albeit somewhat more slowly than the good lady wanted.

It should be immediately obvious the supposed flash of democracy shown by the taking back in-house of the social housing provided by the city council is but another component in the exercise of cost-cutting for which our borough has become famous – perhaps “infamous” may be more appropriate.

This should be put alongside the recent report telling us just how little the city now spends on matters to do with the activities of children and youths. To be borne in mind an old saying build not the school or youth club now just build the prisons later.

Also just what lies behind the how low the Westminster council tax frequently has been and why it is so low.



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