As a tenant representative and deputy chair of the borough wide tenants’ convention, I would like to inform the council employees that we fully support their industrial action against cuts. It is a sad day when the workers are left with no alternative but to strike and say “No More Cuts”. Hackney is steeped in history but, sadly, most recently we have achieved notoriety by becoming the borough with the highest level of serious crime, the lowest level of services and paying the highest price for the lowest level pf services.
It’s up to us now to tell these councillors that we elected them to represent our interests, in which they have failed miserably, and that if they have any decency left in them they should resign now. The government has told Hackney Council to put its house in order under the direction of the managing director, Max Caller. I can see it now – Max called the councillors together and told them “Unless you do as I say, you will be surcharged” – which could mean them losing their property and any other assets they might have.
We’ve all seen the Laurel and Hardy of Hackney, namely Jules Pipes and Eric Ollenshaw, singing from the same hymn book on TV, reiterating the words Max Caller has programmed them to try and justify leading us further into the mire.
That is why all theses councillors from all the parties are so willing to agree to any of Max’s proposals to make cuts to staff and their salaries. This will obviously result in cuts to services while Max proposes to increase the cost of these services, to be paid for by the residents of Hackney. The residents and service providers are yet again expected to bear the cost, rather than the perpetrators of this mess, the councillors who should be surcharged, and some senior officers, who seriously ill advised members at committee level when decisions were being made which are affecting us all now. These officers should be sacked.
Let us not forget the latest mess these councillors are leading us into, the awarding of the refuse collection contract to ServiceTeam, which was contested at the time by a company named Cleanaway, who were at the time unsuccessful in their bid. However, less than two months into the contract ServiceTeam have been taken over by Cleanaway. Is it an example of “best value” being practised by hackney Council when the private contractor is being paid £2 million more than the in-house team was ?
Until this council is brought down, we will be expected to keep bailing them out and bearing the cost.
Look out for an interview with Dave Mackey in the next Hackney Independent, out in March.
The letters page of the Hackney Gazette has recently covered the spat between Carole Young (former TA chair of Wenlock Barn & well-known pro-sell off member of the New Deal Board) and the IWCA following our coverage of the New Deal meeting where proposals to demolish 822 council homes were chucked out.
Carole Young accused the IWCA of “spinning” the story (like New Labour!), claiming that demolition was never a real option and that she was proud to see so many local people taking part in the decision-making processes of the New Deal – not quite the same as her response on the night itself, as Tony Butler points out below!
– an IWCA member responds to Carole Young’s attack on the IWCA
It’s good to see Carole Young agreeing with so many of the IWCA’s points about the New Deal’s plans to demolish 822 council homes in Shoreditch, but we’re not the ones spinning the story. If the option to demolish the council stock was just looked at to fulfil government requirements, why did the New Deal officers put it forward as their “preferred option” ? People turned up at the meeting not because of the New Deal’s record of community involvement and transparency (both of which we’d like to see more of) but because they felt their homes were at risk.
If anyone’s doing any spinning it’s Anna Eagar and her team who’re doing the rounds of the estates with glossy brochures and displays trying to convince tenants to have their blocks demolished and let the developers move in; this might seem an attractive option to someone who’s lived in a rundown block for years but it’s one with no guarantee that tenants who move out will be council tenants when (or if) they return. If you hear any rumours of the New Deal targeting your block, phone the IWCA on 07000 752752. We will help you to organise to stop them, and to campaign to get improvements carried out to your block.
Crawling out of the Woodwork
– a Wenlock Barn tenant responds to Carole Young’s attack on the IWCA
Contrary to Carole Young’s views in the letters page of 15 February, the fact is 100 people gate-crashed, and were not officially invited to this historical decision making meeting on the future of our homes. Carole’s reaction on the night, far from being happy was “it’s funny how people are now crawling out of the woodwork” (as witnessed by everyone there).
As a Council tenant in Shoreditch I would like to say thank you to some of the New Deal Board members who have consistently opposed the plans to sell off our estates. I would also like to say that if it wasn’t for the work of people like the IWCA in warning that the New Deal might be a “RAW DEAL” then most people wouldn’t have known what was going on. Where have the other political parties been in the last couple of years? Carole Young should get used to big turnouts at every meeting when her Board considers demolishing or selling off our homes.
Wenlock Barn Estate