Last week, the Labour leader of Haringey Council, Claire Kober, took to the local newspapers to complain about the shortage of housing for Council tenants.
She has a point. Here in Haringey there are well over 10,000 individuals and families on the waiting list for a council property – and most will have to wait for years before they are even considered. This poses a terrible problem for vulnerable individuals and overcrowded families, who are in desperate need of social housing.
It is all well and good to sit and complain about this – what we really need from our Council leader is action. The blunt fact of the matter is that Labour-run Haringey Council hasn’t built any new Council homes for almost 25 years!
Yes, that’s right. In 1989 the Council built six new flats – and nothing thereafter. It is no wonder that 10,000 individuals and families are now languishing on the waiting list.
And it’s not like the funding hasn’t been available. The Government have rewritten rules to allow Councils to build more homes, and borrow the money to do so. Leicester Council, for instance, were awarded £7 million in Government funding for new housing. They will now build 146 new homes.
In February, the Leader of the Lib Dems put down an amendment to the budget and suggested Haringey did the same as Leicester. The ruling Labour group – led by Claire Kober – rejected this amendment, turning down the opportunity to build more houses.
The Council also have a terrible record on bringing empty homes back into use. Late last year I exposed figures revealing that over 1,700 homes were left empty in Haringey, while the Labour group again spurned a Government grant, which was offered to Councils to help do up empty homes.
So there you have it. The Haringey Labour leader is perfectly happy to complain about the lack of housing, but won’t take action to make a difference – even when the funds are available.
Unfortunately, this is what we have come to expect from the Labour-run Council – all talk and no action. Haringey residents – particularly all those vulnerable and overcrowded people on the waiting list – deserve better.