This week in history: Tory government shuts Hackney Council’s profitable house building department

The Gazette 30 years ago

The Gazette 30 years ago - Credit: Archant

Tory Environment Secretary Nicholas Ridley ordered the closure of Hackney Council’s house building department.

Some 600 council building workers were facing the sack and furious Town Hall leaders pledged to fight the order in the courts.

Mr Ridley announced in the House of Commons it must shut because it lost £5 million between 1983 and 1986. But council bosses and union leaders claimed it had made a profit in the three years since, and called the government’s action “political spite”. The Tory plan was for private firms to take over all council jobs by April 1 1989.

“This move is daft, divisive and dangerous, “ stormed Cllr Jim Chrystie, chair of the public works committee. “It is daft to close down a profitable organisation. It is divisive to threaten 600 workers with redundancy and it is dangerous to leave tenants who need their homes modernised at the hands of private contractors.”