Socialist Worker

Tower Hamlets tenants win injunction against housing sell off

Issue No. 2039

Tower Hamlets tenant activists outside the court

Tower Hamlets tenant activists outside the court

Tenants on the Parkside estate in Tower Hamlets, east London, have won an injunction preventing the Labour council completing the sell-off of more than 2,000 council homes to a subsidiary of the housing association Circle Anglia.

Carole Swords, a tenant from the estate and a member of the Tower Hamlets Against Stock Transfer campaign, went to court after housing minister Yvette Cooper gave consent to the privatisation of the estate last week.

Mr Justice Grigson saw that there was a case to answer and agreed the injunction.

The ballot was held in July 2005 – but the process and result have been hotly contested.

Tenants have been demanding that Yvette Cooper refuses to sign off the transfer because there was only a majority of seven votes, and a catalogue of balloting irregularities.

These included a polling station not being available, some tenants not receiving ballot papers and tenants for whom English is not their first language having difficulty using telephone voting because of a lack of translation facilities.

Normally the secretary of state signs consent to transfers soon after the ballot result. The government’s own regulations state that this should be within 12 months but in this case the government put off making a decision.

There is strong opposition to the policy of privatising council housing across Britain. Tenants voted no to transfer in more ballots in 2006 than ever before.

There is a growing national campaign supporting the 'fourth option' of direct investment to improve existing council housing and build new homes.

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