Socialist Worker

Disgraceful Tory Homes agency board member Simon Dudley attacks homeless

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2586

Homelessness has risen by 134 percent since the Tories took office in 2010

Homelessness has risen by 134 percent since the Tories took office in 2010 (Pic: Garry Knight/Flickr)


Windsor Tory councillor Simon Dudley wants to clear the town’s streets of homeless people before the royal wedding set to take place there in May.

Shockingly, Dudley is a board member of the government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). He was appointed by Tory local government secretary Sajid Javid in February 2017 for a three-year term. One of the HCA’s functions is the regulation of the social housing sector.

Dudley sent a letter to the local police force whinging about “aggressive begging and intimidation” as well as “bags and detritus” on the streets. He urged the cops to round up rough sleepers

He even went as far as to say some people begging had made a “commercial life choice praying [sic] on residents and tourists”.

The comments are a disgusting attack on people hit by Tory attacks on housing. Rough sleeping has increased by 134 percent since the Tories took office in 2010 according to the Homeless Link charity.

Dudley’s register of interests show he was wined and dined by the Berkley Group property firm, based in Surrey.

The Tory has also worked as executive director of global capital markets for Arcapita Ltd and as managing director at Citigroup Global Markets Ltd.

He is lead councillor for housing in Windsor. But questions have been raised about whether his appointment to the HCA’s board represents a conflict of interests. 

Greenbelt

A Freedom of Information request showed that 86 percent of land allocated for possible redevelopment in the borough fell in the greenbelt. Developers have pushed to use this land.

A councillor who raised concerns was sacked in January from his position as chair of the council’s planning panel.

And Dudley’s shocking outburst once again raises questions about the HCA.

At the Mipim property speculators’ fair in London in 2016, Sir Edward Lister, chair of the HCA, said, “We’re interested in working with anybody who’s got money and we don’t really care where it comes from."

Responding to a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation into the HCA last year the organisation said, “TheHCA takes a robust approach to managing conflicts of interest.”

Lister consults for real estate giant CBRE.

The Dispatches investigation also found that Anthony Preiskel was a HCA board member while simultaneously acting as head of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO). KCTMO was responsible for management of all council housing in the borough.

The HCA said it takes “any concerns raised about theHCAextremely seriously”.

If that’s true Dudley should be shown the door immediately. For a board member of the “national housing delivery body” to make such remarks about rough sleepers is an outrage.


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