Housing activists in Tower Hamlets, east London, have reacted with fury to a decision by the New Labour council executive to set up an Arms Length Management Organisation (Almo) to manage its remaining council housing.
The move last week follows tenants on the Collingwood estate in the borough voting against stock transfer.
Tower Hamlets council is facing a growing tenants’ movement against housing privatisation and has lost six stock transfer ballots recently.
The Respect opposition group on Tower Hamlets council is challenging the Almo decision as unconstitutional. It was taken by the Labour executive without consulting council tenants or any allowing any discussion by other councillors.
“This is just another way of disposing of us - another way of privatising council housing,” housing campaigner Carole Swords told Socialist Worker. “Almos are just two stage privatisation. They’re creating another layer of bureaucrats and it’s going to cost us even more.”
Tower Hamlets still plans to press ahead with selling off housing where it thinks it can get away with it.
But it is now proposing an Almo for those estates “not progressing through stock transfer” - ie, estates where the tenants have refused privatisation.
“This is clutching at straws on the part of the council,” a spokesperson for Respect’s council group told Socialist Worker. “They know that stock transfer is coming up against increasing hostility from tenants, so they’re jumping on another ship.
“Respect will support tenants’ demands for direct investment in council housing.
“We will oppose the Almo proposals, fight stock transfers, and pressure the council to spend the money in its housing account on decent public housing.”