Search

Readers' Letters

Editor’s comment: Privatisation means lack of accountability

PUBLISHED: 15:30 04 October 2017

Burbage House cladding still needs to be replaced. Picture: EMMA BARTHOLOMEW

Burbage House cladding still needs to be replaced. Picture: EMMA BARTHOLOMEW

Emma Bartholomew

It took Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association a week to respond to our questions about Burbage House.

We asked how long it would take for the cladding to be replaced. We asked about the ground floor flat whose fire alarm was “turned off at the mains” for eight months. We asked about the lifts.

When ISHA finally replied, it told us simply that “customer safety” was its “highest priority” and said it had written to people and held meetings to keep them updated. Not all that updated, to be fair, since none of the “customers” the Gazette spoke to knew how long it would take to remove or replace the cladding, either.

It is now getting on for four months since Grenfell Tower burned down, killing upwards of 80 people. While the horror of what happened in Kensington doesn’t make it any more likely fires will break out elsewhere, and ISHA has appointed wardens to patrol for 12 hours a night just in case they do, its inability to give a straight answer doesn’t exactly inspire confidence around its general effectiveness.

I hoped Grenfell would be a game-changer for those like ISHA providing (to a greater or lesser extent) affordable housing. But so far the west London inferno does not exactly seem to have put the wind up the ISHA.

I saw Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle on Monday – a thoroughly depressing but essential watch that unpicks the many injustices wrought by the privatisation of council housing. One of those is the lack of accountability that comes when businesses, not town halls, are put in charge of social homes.

And sure, unlike some of the organisations in that film, ISHA did respond to our questions – eventually. But it wouldn’t be true to say it had actually answered them.

Latest Hackney Stories

County Championship Division Two: Derbyshire (265 & 333-3 dec.) beat Middlesex (157 & 340) by 101 runs

58 minutes ago

Leyton Orient midfielder Charlie Lee revealed he enjoyed the challenge of battling back to full fitness after enduring a torrid season due to injury.

The Spurs manager kept faith with domestic cup goalkeeper Michel Vorm on Saturday, but surely he should have picked his strongest team?

15:02

Luis Enrique has moved into pole position as the bookies favourite to become the next Arsenal manager according to the latest prices from Betway.

14:00

A big step for Naomi Dattani, but a bigger one for women’s cricket.

12:39

David Dein has hailed Arsene Wenger and says he will have ‘no shortage of offers’ if he opts to continue in management once he leaves Arsenal at the end of this season.

The Red Devils manager reflected on Saturday’s triumph over Tottenham Hotspur and praised the quality of the match at the national stadium

15:50

A man has been charged with possession of an offensive weapon as murder police continue to investigate the stabbing of 20-year-old Kwasi Anim-Boadu on the Andover Estate.

PROMOTED CONTENT

To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists