War of tweets waged in campaign against council homes sell-off
20 October, 2017 — By Joe Cooper
Cllr Diarmaid Ward
IT could be called trolling, or it could be online activism – either way the Town Hall’s housing chief plans on bombarding the government with messages until it drops “devastating” changes to council homes.
Labour councillor Diarmaid Ward has embarked on a Twitter campaign to get communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid to drop plans which would force the sale of council homes.
“Mr Javid seems to spend more time on Twitter, worrying about his leadership ambitions, than thinking how to solve the housing crisis,” Cllr Ward said. “That’s why I’ll be tweeting him directly until he drops the sell-off.”
Islington has been at the forefront of efforts to get the government to drop much of its Housing and Planning Act. Joint campaigning across London has seen the government ditch plans that would have seen tenants with household incomes of £40,000 and above paying 15 per cent extra – the so-called Tenant Tax.
From April next year, the government plans to force councils to sell “high-value” council homes when they become vacant. They want to use the money raised to fund an extension of Right to Buy to housing association tenants.
Cllr Ward added: “The government’s plan to force councils to sell-off council homes would be devastating. Our borough would be the worst affected in the country, with estimates showing we would lose around 300 homes a year, cutting the number we can re-let each year in half.”