Friday, 26 July 2013

Opportunistic Camden Lib Dems complain about sale of cemetery homes they vacated and sold

Following on from the last story on the cemetery worker accommodation Camden council owns in St.Pancras Cemetery in Barnet, Camden's shamelessly opportunistic Lib Dems have tried to muddy the waters by claiming this old, out-of-borough cemetery workers lodgings is actually a council flat and therefore we have somehow breached our manifesto commitment not to auction council homes.

"Astonished" Cllr Chris Naylor, architect of the hated council house auctions policy in the last administration, writes to the CNJ calling for a "full investigation" into property sales.

He might as well call for a full investigation into himself - as his Cabinet 2006-2010 presided over the sale of two properties adjacent to this, which went for similar prices, something he neglects to mention to local people.

Data released by the council shows two neighbouring properties sold by the Lib Dem-led Cabinet in 2006 and again in 2009:

310 High Road sold 21/12/2006. £305,000
320 High Road sold 17/06/2009. £240,000  

The empty flats, themselves vacated by the Lib Dems, were not deemed suitable to transfer to social landlords nor repair for use as council flats, not by us but by the Lib Dems.

Moreover, as these properties are not part of Camden's housing portfolio (they are assets held by what is known as the 'general fund') - the money raised wouldn't even go to housing it would go to the council's general reserves. 

Under Labour the money forms part of our disposals plan to help to repair schools after BSF budgets were cut by the Coalition Government.  The Lib Dems haven't told us what they would've spent these reserves on.

What a mess.

Frankly, Camden Lib Dems have been smarting since 2010, when their policy of selling 500 council homes at auction was publicly reversed by Labour.

Labour campaigned to scrap the policy and took a stand because we believe in investing in council housing - we are now building an extra 1100 council homes.

We also felt - if the truth be now known - along with several Conservative backbenchers (who regularly supplied Labour with information about these private sales against their coalition partners) that the policy meant properties were in danger of being 'flipped' by private speculators and not value for money. 

The unpopularity of the Lib Dems across London is down to the public seeing through their shameless opportunism. 

The Camden Lib Dems are no different.  

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