Monday, 22 June 2009

The Greenhalgh Vision of the Future

The Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Stephen Greenhalgh, has written a policy paper for the right wing think tank, Localis, that starkly outlines his draconian vision of the future for social housing. We will shortly publish a summary of this paper. In the meantime read it carefully and don't be fooled by the glossy attempt to present supposedly inclusive housing solutions. If he has his way our hard earned legal rights will be swept away to afford unprecedented power to landlords. Security of tenure will be replaced by a two month notice period. And any right minded person will understand that in London, with sky high property prices, few real opportunities for secure and affordable housing will be open to ordinary working people. More likely we will be bussed in from the suburbs to service the privileged minority in the City and bussed off out again at the end of the day!

Councillor Greenhalgh's questionable intent and starring role in the video of his confrontation with angry residents has drawn the attention of the Guardian writer Dave Hill's blog.

The Greenhalgh paper states that:
"Today social housing has become welfare housing where both a dependency culture and a culture of entitlement predominate."
How insulting to those of us who strive to work hard and provide for ourselves and our families - and likewise to those living through difficult times that are thankfully made a little easier by the kind of help that we would all hope for at such times.

One of our group was featured in the Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith Gazette on June 12th in the 'My Hammersmith' feature. Click on the article to read it. You'll probably notice that she sounds like an ordinary kind of person - hard working, community minded, motivated, football-loving - not the dependent, work-shy caricature they'd have you believe us to be.

Undoubtedly there are estates around the country that need drastic improvement and communities that need change for the better, supported by possibly radical but equally compassionate interventions. However the answer is most definitely not to sweep the good ones away. Ours has been described as 'prime real estate' by commentators - can this really be coincidence?

Stephen Greenhalgh supposedly believes that:

"A decent neighbourhood is a place where people want to live and they have pride in. At the heart of a mixed and sustainable community is a mix of people with different income levels, at different life stages and with different occupations who occupy their homes on a mixture of tenures but where no single tenure predominates."
This is us. So why blow us apart? What could possibly be in it for you?

1 comment:

  1. From a subjective point of view this seems like the conservatives are trying to facilitate gentrification within H&F. The whole point of social housing is that it is protected and provided for those that need it. By forcing a 'mix of different incomes' you would start the ball rolling on gentrification and poorer people wont be able to afford living in H&F not considering London's already high property prices.