Tory Housing Transformation Nothing more than another attack on the poorest | jaynelinney

Here’s the proof of what Cameron plans for deprived social housing estates.

Jayne mentions two estates in London that have been “transformed” by the Conservatives already – transformed from full social housing to just 50 per cent.

“What happened to the other half of tenants?” she asks.

What indeed.

And, if you live in a “deprived” housing estate – will it happen to you?

In 2012 “St Matthews Estate in Leicester is classed as the second most social deprived estate in the country” and yet despite this, my now 85 year old mum, still lives there out of choice. She has friends who have also lived there for decades and she receives support and help from the now majority Somali community; when she had a fall five month ago it was a young Somali man, who she didn’t know, that helped her home.

Given mums home is on ‘the second most deprived estate” it is likely that St Matthews will be one of those estates Cameron will want to transform. Some people will hearing/reading about this will think it a good idea, but my experience and that of  Sadiq Khan, and perhaps more surprisingly The Economist, this transformation will destroy far more than it builds.

Not only will the residents be moved away from where they are comfortable and have the support networks vital for safety; as the Economist points out “Unnervingly, poor children seem to fare better in poor neighbourhoods.” The article ‘paradox of the ghetto‘ shows that “poor boys living in largely well-to-do neighbourhoods were the most likely to engage in anti-social behaviour, from lying and swearing to such petty misdemeanours as fighting, shoplifting and vandalism”. As a long term youth worker I suggest this has to do with the need to be accepted, rather than these boys being inherently ‘bad’. The need to fit-in is well documented and experience has shown me that where acceptance is not an option, being feared is the next best thing, and thus young people from these so called ‘sink’ neighbourhoods become the self-fulling prophecy.  This theory is also supported by Professor Tim Newburn who says ” Living alongside the rich may also make the poor more keenly aware of their own deprivation”; therefore in order not to become the victim of the bullying being the outsider often results in, the poor child acts out. Further living in a community where families know each other and communicate, results in young people knowing any unsocial behaviour will be reported back; in my experience this makes you police yourself for fear of the wrath of mum.

Given the above I would suggest the Governments plan has far more to do with their aspiration to abolish social housing, rather any real  “ambition” to enable the families living there. Reading the ‘Notes to Editor’ on the official press release, it claims ‘successful regeneration’ has already occurred at Woodberry Down in Hackney and Packington Estate in Islington However it does not address why both estates have been rebuilt with only 50% social housing, nor what happened to the other half of tenants?   I can only imagine what will happen if Leicester City Council allows St Matthews to be ‘transformed’ (and the legacy of previous decisions made by our City Mayor strongly suggests it will); will my mum be forced into an unsuitable poky flat away from her network of friends and the close proximity of family, and it so how will she cope? This terrifies me as I’m only too aware of her attachment to her home.

Source: Tory Housing Transformation Nothing more than another attack on the poorest | jaynelinney

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10 thoughts on “Tory Housing Transformation Nothing more than another attack on the poorest | jaynelinney

  1. NMac

    Just about everything the Nasty Party is doing is an attack on the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society.

  2. Neilth

    Why is this news? it’s been Tory policy for many years to gerrymander the local electorate to establish a solid Tory council etc. Shirley Porter was famously stopped from doing exactly this sort of thing in Westminster in the eighties. She was a favourite of Thatcher especially as Tesco was a huge contributor to Tory funds.

  3. Mrs Grimble

    This echoes my immediate thought when I first heard this proposal – which was that the Tories’ ultimate plan is for working-class communities to be broken up and the estates sold off profitably to their chums.

  4. shaun

    Hi Mike, it’s interesting that note about a young Somali helping Jayne’s mother out, as that’s my repeated experience: we live in an area that has a high proportion of Somalis and about half of immediate neighbours are Somalis.
    This is a good piece as I suspect with it being a new transformative policy (almost certainly in a bad way for local tenants) past evidence will be thin on the ground. That noted, if I remember correctly a similar scheme was undertaken in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. Then housing associations stood in for private developers (note the recent changes introduced through the Tories to how they operate, about which there is a really good blog SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)), and as with the proposed system about 50% of existing tenants were made to disappear. Most of that was due to replacing high-rise housing with traditional housing, which has a lower density (homes/square kilometre). Gordon Brown’s policy of raising the standard of all existing housing (IMHO) to a decent homes standard has been of great benefit to most social housing tenants. We live in a 13 storey high-rise building and the external insulation and replacement of metal casement windows with high quality PVC double glazing has been transformative to our standard of living. Not to mention the replacement of the original hot-air system, lined with white asbestos to night storage heaters may well have been life saving!
    As Conservative policy is premised on the removal of social housing, council tenants, the poor and disabled this transformative policy will no doubt produce the consequences Jayne has so eloquently set out above. The task will be getting that fact out to those who may lose their home and the populace in general, through the almost deafening spin put out by the Tories and their media supporters.

  5. David Woods

    They built ‘up’ because there was no room o build ‘out’; So they will be tearing down tower blocks to build replacement tower blocks!
    Q1; Where will these people live whilst these blocks are being torn down and rebuilt – there is apparently a housing shortage so where will these tenants be put?
    Q2; As these would come as a new built home also means ‘new’ rents; How are the poorer tenants supposed to pay the rent with the Tories new benefit caps now in place!

    Just another round of ‘social cleansing’ under a new guise!

    Even more important of course is this; What will they sneak through the ‘back door’ while everybodies attention is focused on this?

    What has also happened to the trillions of pounds of debt they got us into – haven’t they constantly said “there is no money available”; yet here they are willing to pay out billions (for it will be billions before they’ve finished) willing to help the poor have better living conditions!!!

    From what I smell I should have been more careful where I stepped when I walked behind the bull!

    1. shaun

      Hi David,
      Modern English cities have not had the physical ground to house its inhabitants, and this applies even more so for the less well off, hence the need for social housing. To build upwards is as old as the Samarian civilisation and ancient Rome made extensive use of high-rise and concrete. The Modernist movement added some technical and social innovations. These were usually not included, for cost reasons and to save construction time too, You are right in all you state Q’s 1 and 2. It’s interesting to note that New Labour took to these policies, with their social cleansing and punishment of troublesome tenants. If memory serves me well, and that would be a pleasant change, some schemes provided less than a 50% replacement of the high-rise taken down.
      As others have noted, parliament and investigative journalists need to get of the details for in these will be the real reason Mr Cameron’s housing transformation. I’m a bit of a scenic, but I suspect the real motive will have the following in them:
      taking money from the poor
      giving state money to the rich
      reducing the number of social housing tenancies
      raising the overall cost of each square metre that home users have to pay.
      reducing the average amount of space each person has to live in.
      Thus people will have to pay an even higher percentage of their income for housing costs.

      A friend, a stone mason, had a conversation with a house developer he’d worked for in his youth. The old chap told my friend that he had priced for a 20% profit margin, however, developers today would not consider taking on a development unless it was capable of making a 50% profit margin. What this means is that developers sit on their land banks and only build on them when the profit margin is over 50%.


  6. Michael Broadhurst

    this wants attacking in Parliament by all the other parties and showing up for what it is,
    another get rich scheme of CaMoron’s for his already “filthy with money ” pals,and nothing to do with improving housing conditions for the majority.
    how thick does he think we are ?

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