‘Parliament is listening to us’ says Hackney’s protesting housing boss

Campaigners holding a vigil for social housing at Hackney Town Hall on Friday

Campaigners holding a vigil for social housing at Hackney Town Hall on Friday - Credit: Archant

Hackney’s housing boss believes campaigning against the government’s housing bill is working following major amendments put forward in the House of Lords.

Hackney campaigners march last month

Hackney campaigners march last month - Credit: Archant

Cllr Philip Glanville joined other members of Hackney Labour Group, Hackney Digs and campaigners from Save Hackney’s Social Housing and Kill the Housing Bill outside Hackney Town Hall on Friday night. The next day they took part in the People’s Assembly March for Health, Homes, Jobs, and Education.

Cllr Glanville has been vocal in his fight against the bill. He says it will lead to “social cleansing” in the borough through the forced sales, starter homes not being affordable and “pay to stay”, which would see households earning more than £40,000 paying market rent.

And following major amendments from the House of Lords over the last week, including giving councils the option to implement “pay to stay”, he believes their voices are being heard.

“The march was really important to draw attention to this issue at a more national level,” he said. “There was a real collective sense.

“Despite some of the things happening in the House of Lords there is still a lot of anger.

“Personally, I am cautiously optimistic and we have now seen real issues with how it would be implemented.

Most Read

“Part of the reason we have got to this stage is that parliament is listening. Time will tell whether the amendments stand up or will be watered down.”

He also indicated Hackney would not sign up to “pay to stay” should it become voluntary, although that would present other problems in meeting government targets.

“If it’s voluntary the council certainly wouldn’t [sign up],” he added. “It is a tax on residents. But it would put us in a very difficult position.”

Cllr Glanville said he and eight social housing tenants were meeting with the shadow cabinet this week.

He continued: “They will see that these people are not people on high incomes. To me a £40,000 household income is very challenging in London.”