A PACKED town hall meeting in Camden on Tuesday of last week gave a major boost to the campaign to win direct government investment in the borough's council homes. The meeting followed the no vote by Camden tenants to the government's plan to set up an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) to take over the borough's council housing.
ALMOs are a two-stage privatisation process, and Camden tenants threw out the plan by 77 percent in a ballot. The plan had been backed by the local Labour council. But now tenants, workers' unions, the council and local Labour MP Frank Dobson have united in a fight to win the £283 million the government had promised for the ALMO to be given direct to the council.
Tuesday's meeting was addressed by Dobson, Camden council leader Jane Roberts and Alan Walter of Camden's Defend Council Housing organisation which led the fight against the ALMO. The local paper, the Camden New Journal, has thrown its weight behind the campaign, and is running a petition which has been taken onto the streets and estates by local campaigners.
The government is so far refusing to cough up the money, but if sufficient pressure is applied it could be forced to change tack. 'Local people have decided what they want, and the government should respect that,' said Frank Dobson at last week's meeting.