ALMO Ballot "Manipulated" – Hackney Independent takes on the council in the Gazette

Town hall chiefs were accused of deliberately misleading council tenants this week by “manipulating” the result of a ballot on the future of their homes.

Cllr Jamie Carswell, cabinet minister for housing described it as an “unambiguous mandate” for ALMOs following the ballot of 25,000 tenants and 8,000 leaseholders.

The council needs to raise £220 million to bring its crumbling housing stock up to a decent standard and hopes to tap into millions of pounds of government funds for necessary improvements.

But Peter Sutton of political party Hackney Independent says the voting figures are far from a “resounding green light to ALMOs” and has slammed the figures used in the a council press release as “pure propaganda and manipulation”.

“The release says a significant majority of 80 per cent of voters supported ALMOs,” he said.

“Despite two extensions to the deadline and an appeal letter, only 7,000 tenants and leaseholders voted. Of those, 64% put ALMOs as their first choice. To get the 80 per cent figure mentioned in the press release, the council would have had to have included people who put ALMOs as their second, third and fourth choices.

“It means, despite months of one-sided pro-ALMO propaganda, only just over 4,000 tenants and leaseholders could be persuaded to vote for an ALMO – just 14 per cent of the borough’s council tenants and leaseholders”, he added.

However, Cllr Jamie Carswell said he was delighted people had taken the ‘test of opinion’ seriously and voted. “This is the culmination of three years communication around ‘Decent Homes’ and means people have made their feelings very clear that an ALMO is their preferred option”, he added.

Council Chiefs will hope to meet with the Government in January to submit a bid for establishing ALMOs.

(see also our letters page for more recent coverage in the Hackney Gazette)