Dismore raises Conservative Westminster City Council’s homeless deportation housing policy

At today’s Mayor’s Question Time, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM asked the Mayor about Westminster Council’s plans to deport homeless people to the midlands. (video here)


Mr Dismore asked the Mayor:


‘You will of course remember the infamous 1980’s Westminster ‘Homes for Votes’ scandal, described by the courts as the ‘greatest act of corruption in local government history’ and presided over by Conservative Council Leader Dame Shirley Porter. One of the many thousands of incriminating documents we dug out was by the Director of Housing, who wrote his orders in the margin:


‘be mean and nasty to the homeless’.


‘Conservative Westminster Council now  intends to send  large numbers of homeless Westminster residents  to the Midlands- Coventry, Birmingham and Leicester- with hundreds being forced to take one of the 200 properties they are taking, which  would end any responsibility for Westminster to find them a permanent home.


‘In 2009, the then council leader Cllr Colin Barrow belatedly apologised to all those affected by the Porter scandal.  He said:


‘Shirley Porter’s actions were “the opposite of the council’s policies today’.


‘Well they are not the opposite now, are they, as they send Westminster residents to Coventry, no matter how strong their ties to the City?’


The Mayor said that it’s the Government’s benefit changes that were partly to blame, and he did not want to see a hollowing out of the city centre. Westminster’s politics in the 80’s and 90’s were shameful and he hoped they’d learn the lessons of history.


Mr Dismore added:


‘The Mayor is right to say Westminster should learn the lessons of history. Unfortunately, it seems they are learning the opposite lesson to the one the Mayor and I would like to see.’