ESTATE IN HERITAGE STATUS BID
One of the country's largest Victorian
housing estates, in Liverpool, is
bidding for heritage status, the city
council has announced.
Kensington Fields has suffered from
high levels of crime, low educational
achievement and poor health.
The council is to spend £6,000 on each
of the 1,200 privately-owned properties
to help spruce up the area for its bid.
As a long term housing campaigner here in Liverpool I've been documenting photographically and in writing the destruction of council housing. Our family home of over twenty years was demolished and our community broken up, friends and neighbours moved all over Liverpool and out of Liverpool this was as part of the Norris Green Boot (built by Henry Boot Company Ltd - still in existence) Estate scandal-betrayal-sell out-land deal… etc Whenever I put it forward as either a fellow council tenant and housing activist or later as a candidate in local elections that “Liverpool City Council has the money” available to actually upgrade and refurbish our housing I was shouted down, verbally abused, excluded, censored, threatened with violence or harassed by Merseyside Police under orders from the local right wing houseowner and chair of the discredited Boot Tenants and Residents Association, Jack Mahon who originally called for demolition in 1998 - without ever consulting with us tenants. I was also called a liar to my face and over the phone. Well as many will know Liverpool is awash with regeneration money, ever since European Union Objective One Status was granted (due to our dire levels of poverty, which have actually worsened since, in early 1993 and the poorest and most needy simply haven’t benefited from it and that won’t change until there is a political change in the city council.
The above news item along with many others in local press and media quite clearly prove what happens when an openly anti-working class party runs a council and/or a government, our priorities (and the working class are the majority) are at the bottom of the list behind out of town students, foreign tourists, visiting shoppers and corporate big business the last three don't vote in the local council elections or for local MPs yet have greater influence on the middle class Liberal-Democrat and Labour councillors than do the majority who live here, in the case of Liverpool Riverside 65% did't vote in 2001.
It has never been about lack of resources or money here in Liverpool it’s entirely been down to the ‘LACK OF POLITICAL WILL’. There’s always money for middle class flights of fancy and big business feather nesting projects, however anything that would directly benefit the poorest sections of the working class and even the wider public here has had or is currently having its funding cut, slashed or completely withdrawn.
With housing we’re talking about denying the most basic of human needs ‘affordable and adequate’ housing and those who have been and continue to make the decisions are out of touch and totally unaffected by their housing policies and decision making and all those pleading (Defend Council Housing – with their fourth option) with those who’ve brought about this shocking destruction of publicly owned housing need to get a total reality check.
How clearer does it have to be for the remaining council tenants with ever dwindling ‘SECURE TENANCIES’? Today council tenants here in Liverpool and elsewhere are overwhelmingly working class, mostly surviving on pensions, benefits and/or low waged, temporary or short term employment and been constantly bombarded with false propaganda via the right wing media and press that ‘council doesn’t have the money’ to improve it’s tenants housing. YET THIS LIE IS INCREASINGLY BEING EXPOSED… It’s increasingly exposed as a lie because tens of thousands of council tenants here in Liverpool were sold this lie to dupe them into voting away all our legally binding ‘SECURE TENANCIES’ and giving ‘our’ publicly owned housing and public land over to the private sector, profit making housing companies/associations/ trusts/charities etc. Now council tenants no longer have any collective power, or organised threat of such, here in Liverpool and the housing based trade unions have been totally defeated, demoralised and all their jobs privatised the lies can be seen clearly for what they always were.
I quote from the above:
“The council is to spend £6,000 on each of the 1,200 privately-owned properties to help spruce up the area for its bid.”
So let me underline this, Liverpool City Council (Liberal Democrat) who can’t even fit low cost PVC double glazing to all it's housing (to replace dangerous and rotten wooden frames) in the past seven years, can’t do essential repairs, has contracted out and sub-contracted out it’s repair services has stated and continues to state to its own council tenants that: “council doesn’t have the money” to improve it’s housing stock. Even housing staff perpetuated that propaganda lie on the doorstep without even thinking it over during the Stock Transfer battle against COBALT/LHT and Berrybridge (Riverside Housing Association front company)in the North of Liverpool in 2002.
So our public money is being spent on privately owned housing, what is that figure? It comes to £7,200,000, I’ll write that in English SEVEN MILLION – TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS… Wherever this money has come from and whatever council budget it is contained within, why can’t this same creative accounting be done for the ever dwindling numbers of council tenants homes, which is actually the property of the City Council???
I’ve long been one of the housing activists opposing housing privatisation since at least 1992, under a Tory government with a moderate Labour council we’ve faced the rundown of council housing here in Liverpool, under a Labour government and just one year of the same moderate Labour council nothing improved at all and now with seven years of a Liberal- Democrat council under eight years of a Labour Government we’ve seen more council housing abolished, privatised and demolished in eight years than ever happened through of eighteen years of Tory government.
Having spoken and corresponded with other housing and tenant activists across Britain I know that none of this is unique to Liverpool, but I've posted this here so those tenant and housing activists elsewhere fighting to defend their homes and communities have some information to aid their campaigns.
I have a couple of other articles in connection with housing, community destruction, so called 'HOUSING MARKET RENEWAL INITIATIVE' and New Heartlands project in preparation and will post within days.
If this is posted twice it's because I originally posted it at 11.10am this morning and it still didn't appear at 4.30pm - here goes again...