Tenants and activists in Camden are celebrating after the newly elected Labour council announced an end to the sell-off of Camden’s council housing.
Pressure from below has been crucial. Defend Council Housing (DCH) activists and tenants have been campaigning tirelessly against the decision of the previous Tory-Lib Dem coalition that ran Camden to sell off up to 500 council homes.
Labour took control of the council after the 6 May local elections. Housing is a big issue in the borough with over 18,000 people on the council house waiting list and there is chronic overcrowding.
Local DCH activist Maddy Cooper told Socialist Worker, “Spirits are high. This is the result of two years of campaigning by the No Sell Off campaign where tenants and local trade unionists have fought tooth and nail to expose the sell offs and dogged the Tory-Lib Dem council.
“We made sure the issue was also high on Labour’s agenda when in opposition. We all knew the election was our big opportunity to force an end to this disgusting policy.
“We are delighted Labour has stopped the sell offs but we also know that it was our grassroots campaign, led by tenants and local trade unionists, that did it.”
Another of Labour’s manifesto pledges was to bring caretakers and estate cleaners back into council employment and to end the disastrous Veolia privatisation. “Now we want to see our caretaking service bought back in house,” said Maddy. “We will keep fighting to keep housing at the top of the council’s agenda.”
A debate has started about how tenants, trade unions and campaigners in the borough can work together to defend services from the coming cuts.