A survey from Inside Housing shows a mixed response from Labour councils to the policy of evicting Council tenants convicted of rioting or looting. It wasn't an exhaustive but was still interesting. As one would expect the Conservative councils generally take a tough line. There was also a mix in the responses from Housing Associations.
Labour councils in favour include Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Greenwich, Manchester, Nottingham, Salford, Southwark and Waltham Forest. These are all councils that I have criticised on this site on various issues. I am pleased to be able to congratulate them for the stance they are taking on this issue. The survey found that Ealing, Hackney and Haringey would at least consider evictions in such circumstances as would the almos that run the Council housing for Labour-run Derby and Wolverhampton.
But other Labour councils are refusing to evict such people. They include Sandwell, Harrow, Camden and Tower Hamlets. Although not listed they also include Lambeth. Their leader Cllr Steve Reed has a disgraceful piece on Progress Online. All the simplistic nonsense about blaming poverty and "the slashing of the Education Maintenance Allowance." As always he felt the answer was increased public spending.
Cllr Reed says:
The rioting was inexcusable and lawless, but on its own inflicting tougher punishments on young law-breakers from poor backgrounds doesn’t help them learn that society has something positive to offer them. It’s more likely to entrench them in the belief that society is against them, leading to further disaffected behaviour. Evicting parents who are already struggling to bring up their children makes their task even harder and, as a consequence, their children are more likely to become repeat offenders.
What sort of position does that leave the thousands of law abiding families in Lambeth who are on the waiting list for a Council home while stuck in overcrowded conditions? They see the rioters allowed get away with retaining the privilege of subsidised, secure, Council housing.
The tenancy agreement that Council tenants in my borough sign up to is perfectly clear.
…the tenant is responsible for the behaviour of anyone, including children, family, relatives and friends, who live or lodge at or visit the premises. The tenant shall ensure that they do not act in breach of any of these clauses; nor must the tenant allow or permit them to act in such a way. This applies in the premises and anywhere in the local area.
It goes on:
The tenant or anyone who lives or lodges at or visits the premises shall not do any of the following:
• threaten or use violence towards anyone in the local area…
This should be applied in reality. Not just on paper.