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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 2nd August 2007
The fact is, Labour’s failed thousands in the borough

If housing wasn’t such a serious issue I’d be tempted to ask if the silly season had arrived early this year.
Three weeks ago you published an article about Labour’s prospective deputy leaders’ views on housing – omitting to mention that Labour’s deputy leadership election happened months ago.
Last week you accused the current administration of not campaigning for housing funds aggressively enough. This week you criticise us for not cosying up to government to be one of New Labour’s fourteen chosen housing pilots.
But I’m not sure you’ve read Gordon Brown’s Green Paper which mentions these pilots ?
What it says is “fourteen new Local Housing Companies will be established by Local Authorities and partners… to develop new market and affordable housing”.
I’m sure we all join you in welcoming initiatives to build more affordable housing, even if these are through new companies, and new non-council partnerships. But it seems just a little rich of the CNJ to attack us one week for considering help from not-for-profit housing associations – and then attack us again the next week for not being the first in the queue for these new ‘Local Housing Companies’.
The fact remains that Labour has failed many tens of thousands of Camden’s residents, with nearly half our stock still not up to standards set in 2003 – the Labour government’s funding strings meant our improvement funds were denied us; and the council sat on its hands for years waiting for policy to change. If the CNJ wants to write editorials praising the government for setting up new ‘Local Housing Companies’ that is its prerogative. But I do hope it will continue to campaign, as we do, for urgently-needed funding to improve the homes we already have.
Cllr Chris Naylor
Executive Member for

Your report about the council’s plans for investing in its housing stock (Tenants fear private buyout, July 26) seems to me
to highlight the importance of being constructive and pragmatic. As you yourselves phrase it, “Holly Lodge is meant to be a jewel in Camden’s housing portfolio… but many of the flats are run down and some residents are still sharing toilets”.
The Lib Dems and Conservatives believe that it is unacceptable that estates with the potential to offer attractive, comfortable homes should be left in an appalling and dated state with residents living in miserable conditions. It was under Camden Labour’s misrule that the estates declined into this condition and it is thanks to the Labour government that no central funds are available for renovation.  
You talk about “tenants willing to wait for the deadlock with the government to break”. What proportion of tenants are, in fact, willing to allow the situation to get worse and worse in the name of a dogmatic battle that only the government can win? Labour ministers have made it very clear that they are not going to provide the £240 million plus that they offered before the residents’ vote.
And while current tenants raise objections to investment, the next generation of tenants see no improvement in their housing prospects.
The ruling coalition is trying to bring about positive physical improvements to as many dwellings as possible, since, as Grace Livingstone said, “there is such great housing need in Camden”.
A deal with a housing association would be structured to bring in additional cash and expertise, and free up the opportunity for the council to do more as well. There is no suggestion this is a sell-off to developers to create luxury flats; that is just scaremongering, designed to serve an Old Labour prejudice that only the council can run community housing.
Nick Russell
Arlington Road, NW1

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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